School of hard rocks: WKU geology student lands NASA internship

Madeline+Brosky%2C+a+senior+geology+student+at+WKU%2C+will+be+working+with+NASA+this+summer.

Damon Stone

Madeline Brosky, a senior geology student at WKU, will be working with NASA this summer.

Damon Stone, News Reporter

Madeline Brosky’s love of the outdoors led her to enroll in a colonnade geology course. Now, geology is her career.

Brosky, a senior geology student at WKU, has compiled an impressive research resume that includes several geology-based projects with her professors. In her free time, she often spends time outside caving, hiking and spending time with friends, and these kinds of activities nudged her towards geology classes.

“I was undecided when I joined that class, and it convinced me to get into Earth science,” Brosky said. “My professors really inspired me with the things they’ve done, and the cool places they’ve gotten to go to.”

Advertisement

Recently, Brosky has been selected to join the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab as part of an upcoming summer internship to work on Moon basalt rocks. 

While there, she will be working on a proposed moon mission. The idea is to send a rover into a crater, and Brosky’s job is to calibrate equipment so that if the mission ever happens, scientists would be able to understand the data that is sent back.

Getting involved in undergraduate research has opened the door to everything I’ve been able to do. Starting early in college and trying to stay as consistent as possible with the projects I’ve been involved on has been really fulfilling and has opened doors for me.

— Madeline Brosky

“This is an internship I applied for a long time ago, and didn’t really have a huge expectation to get,” Brosky said. “But it really worked out with some of the research experience I’ve had at Western. It’s always been a dream to work at NASA, with all the cool science stuff they do that I’ve always been inspired by; everyone thinks the concept of space is so cool, it’s been a pipe dream that worked out.” 

Additionally, Brosky has been working with the US Geologic Survey EDMAP program in Kentucky, training to become part of the next generation of geologic mappers. According to Brosky, the project is a grant program that her professors applied for and received. 

The grant has allowed Brosky and a classmate to remap a quadrangle of northern Kentucky. According to Brosky, by utilizing both field work and analytical lab work, the project will create a more accurate geologic map of the area.

Brosky also completed an internship with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers in Tennessee last summer and will continue in the winter. The internship allowed her to work on construction projects with the corps, which entailed creating online maps to help with its data work. 

Brosky also received the 2021 AIPG Outstanding Senior Award, which was something her professor, Nahid Gani, nominated her for. The award is given out by a professional geology organization with the goal to help up-and-coming student geologists. 

“Getting involved in undergraduate research has opened the door to everything I’ve been able to do,” Brosky said. “Starting early in college and trying to stay as consistent as possible with the projects I’ve been involved on has been really fulfilling and has opened doors for me. I’ve had really good influences in my department, and with my friends and peers that have been really supportive.” 

News Reporter Damon Stone can be reached at [email protected]