Emily Calandrelli

 2006-2010 West Virginia Space Grant Participant

“Dramatically improved my confidence level”

It is no exaggeration to say that the West Virginia Space Grant program was my most valuable resource for fellowship, scholarship, and internship opportunities while attending West Virginia University. Even to this day, I encourage undergrads to use it as their go-to resource.

More specifically though, during my time as an undergrad, the West Virginia Space Grant helped me find a great research fellowship and every single one of my internships. It was an incredible experience and the staff was extremely helpful in matching my interests with the opportunities that were offered.

One of the most memorable opportunities was the volunteer class offered to students as part of a microgravity research team that worked on the Vomit Comet aircraft. In addition to getting me into this class, the program also found sponsors for me. The culmination of these, and many other experiences (summer in China, MIT graduate school, etc.) helped me determine the specific field of engineering that I eventually pursued.

As a direct consequence of being exposed to so many different opportunities, my professional options have greatly increased. For instance, I have been the TV host of an educational program about outer space, written technology articles for Tech Crunch, and am currently writing a children’s book featuring a STEM-oriented heroine.

I cannot say enough about the encouraging staff—the director and coordinators in particular—whom I consider friends. Their expertise, guidance, and genuine concern allowed me to put things on my “resume” that made me highly competitive on national scale and prepared me for various research opportunities. Throughout this process, working with the West Virginia Space Grant program dramatically improved my confidence level.

It is difficult to even imagine the opportunities that would have missed had I not been in this program. I think that is what makes this such a crucial connection for students at state schools who may not get the same opportunities.

Emily Calandrelli
Producer and Host of FOX’s Xploration Outer Space
Tech Crunch Writer