PSU student shines in NASA internship

By University Communications

Portland State graduate student Chuck Faber, who is getting his master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, excelled in his position as a virtual NASA intern last summer, working on improving code for software defined radios as part of the Space Communications and Navigation project (SCaN).

Chuck worked on a team with three other interns, focused on reusable Space Telecommunications Radio System (STRS) module development.

“We’re trying to create a development workflow and a framework that we can use to make our code more easily shareable and reusable,” Chuck says.

He also got a taste for the variety of directions his degree could take him in the future. 

“Rather than helping me solidify exactly what it was I wanted to do in my career as a computer engineer, this internship helped open my eyes to a wide variety of fields I hadn’t even considered previously,” he says. “This is a mixed blessing of course, since I’m still not completely sure where I’ll end up, but I’m excited to see where this will take me.”

Chuck spent several years teaching middle school science and is now pursuing his graduate degree in computer engineering. He credits PSU with preparing him to work at NASA. “My education at Portland State University gave me a good background in RTL code design and verification that aided me in my internship. I was able to learn a lot from my internship that I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten from my coursework also.”

Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) serves as the Program Office for all NASA’s space communications activities. The SCaN Internship Project (SIP) is a paid internship open to students 16 or older who are pursuing a career in space communications and navigation, or have an interest in these areas. SIP interns are selected and placed in projects for fall, spring, and summer.

Students are given the opportunity to perform hands-on training with real mission scenarios, gain exposure and analyze powerful space communication systems, utilize network software tools and effectively communicate their findings in a final presentation to NASA management. Each student is paired with an experienced and multidisciplinary mentor who counsels the student with their work, and also engages with career planning.


With a control center where students can talk to astronauts, a rocket club that is building Oregon’s first satellite, the northwest’s largest meteorite collection and more, Portland State offers numerous opportunities for students who want to explore the universe. Learn more about space research at PSU.

Learn more about the NASA SCaN Internship Project.
Learn more about the STRS project at NASA Glenn Research Center.

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