Internship Spotlight: Leah Wassef, NASA


Leah Wassef '23 (BSBA Accounting) is a Government Contract Administration Intern at NASA.

What was the process for getting this internship/job?

On NASA's intern website, I looked through the internship projects offered and applied to the ones I was interested in. I got a call back to schedule an interview a month later. I did an interview the same day, with my mentor and a director. Within the week I received an offer letter. I did a first summer internship and was extended for a second term in the fall.

What type of projects do you work on?

I have been extremely lucky to be part of the SACOM (Synergy Achieving Operations and Maintenance) contracting specialist team here at Stennis. I have had the opportunity to participate in research and projects that helped determine reasonableness in the decision process and ultimately resulted in cost savings. I analyzed proposals and requests for equitable adjustment for validity and math accuracy. I researched task order closeouts, and contract clauses to ensure the best business approach is being documented. I participated in executing modifications to the contract which assisted in reducing the backlog of action items. I conducted a purchase review of SACOM procurement files to ensure the contractor is adhering to their own purchasing processes and procedures as outlined in their purchasing manual. I touched so many different aspects of the contract that have broadened my perspective from beginning to end of some of the inner workings of procurement. It was a very educational experience and I now understand more about the mindset of the contracting officer.

What is your favorite part of the experience?

Learning more about NASA. During the internship, they offer a lot of optional lectures to help you learn more about the projects going on at NASA and it is fascinating. Also the office I worked in. My office put me to work. It was challenging, but I feel like my internship was useful.

What do you find most challenging?

Being virtual is not always easy, especially when you are learning so much. Communication is crucial in a remote environment.

What are you learning?

Government Contracting Administration

What advice do you have for other students looking for similar experiences?

Apply! There are a lot of opportunities to learn out there, but you have to go knocking on doors. I applied to 14 NASA internships. Only one called me back. I just needed one.

How has Eller prepared you for this experience?

The discipline it takes to consistently study. This set me up to work hard and learn in a fast paced environment.