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Central High graduate lands summer internship with NASA

Breanna Ivey graduated Central High School in 2017 and is now working as a mobility test engineering intern for the Mars 2020 project

MACON, Ga. — One Bibb County graduate has her sights set on the stars and beyond.

Breanna Ivey graduated from Central High in 2017 and wants to set an example for younger students as she pursues her engineering dreams.

"When I was younger and I knew I wanted to build things, that's all I knew. I didn't know what that meant in terms of a job because I didn't see anybody look like me doing the things that I thought were interesting," she said.

She discovered her love for math and science at Central High in the International Baccalaureate, or IB program.

"I've had a lot of teachers and coaches help put me in positions to challenge myself, and in doing that, I've had to take classes like physics and IB Math and AP statistics, and those are classes that really challenge you in the high school setting," Ivey said.

She took her skills to Georgia Tech. This summer, she's interning with NASA working on the Mars 2020 rover.

"The goal of the rover is to discover past life, signs of past life on Mars. The way that it does that is it uses a robotic arm to drill holes into the surface, catch geological samples and save them for a later return mission. So one of the capabilities of that rover is it should be able to set a goal with some user input. I'm just making sure the math is right on the computer for the rover," Ivey said.

She breaks it down even simpler.

"My job is to make sure that the information that the computer sends back is correct and matches what we expect it to be," she said.

Ivey says the Perseverance Rover's launch date is scheduled for the end of the month, but may be pushed back. She's grateful for the experience.

"Being able to impact people and see people be inspired by me just following my dreams and working hard, that really means a lot to me," Ivey said.

The internship lasts until August 7. Ivey was supposed to be working on-site at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, instead she's working remotely from home because of COVID-19.

Ivey is about to start her senior year at Georgia Tech. She plans to get a graduate degree in electrical engineering and hopes to work full time for NASA.

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