Single Mom Lands NASA Internship, Neighbors Raise Money To Cover Costs
India Jackson landed a prestigious internship with NASA, however, the single mother was unsure how she would manage it, as NASA — which received a budget of $21.5 billion for 2019 fiscal year — requires all interns to pay for their own housing, travel, and other costs.
Jackson had her daughter Jewel when she was a junior at Georgia State University, yet went onto earn her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the same school. After her acceptance into the 10-week program in Houston, the 32-year-old wasn't sure how she was going to get it done.
Then her cousin launched a Go Fund Me page and within two days neighbors and some strangers helped raise $8,510.
"Some people gave $3, $1, $5 — whatever they could give," Jackson, of Atlanta, Georgia, said. "I was extremely overwhelmed with hope and promise and joy. I am forever grateful to everyone on that donor list and I sent personal thank you's. Some people I knew, most people I don't and it's amazing of what humanity can bring regardless of race, gender.'
Jackson says it wasn't easy being a full-time college student and mother.
"I definitely didn't imagine being in the place I am today," she said. "Money was always an issue, cars always break down. My daughter always comes first, so I had my final exams next week when she was taking her milestones test [at school], so when she was asleep I had to study."
Jackson will be researching solar energetic particles Johnson Space Center and said her desire to be a scientist isn't rooted in money.
"We don't become scientists to make money. We become scientists to make history," Jackson said. "There are no words, only emotion that I have. Who doesn't want to work for NASA? [I'm] ecstatic."
Congrats to India Jackson.