When telecommunication media studies senior Andrea Lloyd graduates this week, she will already have an internship with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Lloyd was selected for a communications internship at the NASA Langley Research Center, focusing on public relations. Specifically, Lloyd will be working on NASA’s 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Landing.
“I will be helping to plan and execute the anniversary — the social media and event side of things,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd said her passion for science communication is driven both by her love for science and her desire to share it with others.
“I am interested in science communication and science public relations, helping the public learn about science in such a way that it helps science move forward as well,” Lloyd said.
Before coming to Texas A&M, Lloyd had been interested in NASA’s mission and had hopes of perhaps becoming an astronaut one day. While originally enrolled as a mathematics major, her interests eventually developed in the communication area. Most significant of all was her interaction with former NASA public affairs officer and spokesman Josh Byerly during her fall 2017 strategic communication class.
“[Byerly] gave a presentation about communication and public relations with NASA, and that’s when it came on my radar that NASA has communication and public relations opportunities as well,” Lloyd said. “That science needs to be communicated.”
The internship is not Lloyd’s first foray into science communication, as she’s gained extensive experience in the field both on and off campus. Lloyd has planned events with the A&M aerospace department, helped with social media and events for conservation nonprofit. The Urban Interface and is currently working with the Texas A&M Sounding Rocketry Team. She also runs her own science communication blog, Learn Loudly.
“I try and break down the science so people can understand what’s going on,” Lloyd said. “For example, with The Urban Interface, having peregrine falcons in the class, engaging with the audience after questions back and forth and connecting people with science by bringing a physical representation to them.”
Lloyd said the development in space exploration she is most excited about is the privatization of the field and the renewed public interest it has brought.
“The public is interested in space exploration again, and that’s one reason why public relations and journalism about space exploration is so important — making sure people understand the importance of NASA and space exploration and how it impacts us on Earth,” Lloyd said.
After her internship, Lloyd said she plans to attend graduate school to study science communication and public relations or continue working at NASA or places with similar opportunities.
The most important skill for anybody curious about science or science communication is learning how to research and making sure that resources are reputable, Lloyd said.
“Make sure the news source you’re reading is credible and make sure you stay interested,” Lloyd said. “Try and help people become included in a culture of communicating, finding and understanding science.”