Summer of Learning

Sruthi Gunturu, RRHS senior, has been quite productive this summer, and her efforts have not gone unnoticed. Please be sure to congratulate this Dragon on the following achievements.

SEES Internship

Sruthi completed the prestigious Student Enhancement in Earth and Space Science (SEES) summer internship hosted by The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Space Research. This nationally competitive program sponsored by NASA’s Texas Space Grant Consortium selects students to conduct authentic research using NASA data. Sruthi described her experience conducting investigations as part of the Mars Exploration team, stating that:  

“Through the program, my team and I did a lot of research over Mars and space exploration with the goal of coming up with creative ideas for habitation on Mars. I really enjoyed working with our mentors and learning all this new information and coming up with new ideas.”

Sruthi worked with NASA scientists Dr. Humboldt Mandell, NASA subject matter expert on Mars Exploration, and Adam Nokes, professor at The University of Texas at Austin.   NASA is committed to the human exploration of Mars.  Many of the technologies are already in place, and additional ones are currently being built. But, prior to sending humans to Mars, there needs to be the infrastructure on the planet surface that is necessary to sustain the first crews to visit. Using engineering design principles, the SEES team designed a Mars village that will allow people to live and work productively and safely for up to 1,000 days on the Mars surface.

SEES high school interns worked with scientists and engineers to conduct authentic research using NASA data and analysis tools. Teams were organized around an aerospace or space science theme drawn from NASA’s many engineering and scientific research programs. SEES sponsored several team challenges this summer, including designing Mars habitats, exploring lunar environments, tracing COVID-19 using NASA technologies, and examining the relationship between observed mosquito habitats and land cover as well as other environmental data obtained from satellites. 

The SEES internship provides an outlet for the excitement many students feel about Earth and space science. Interns are offered a unique opportunity to work with professional scientists and engineers at the cutting edge of NASA science, experience being part of a science team, and explore STEM career options firsthand. 


Sruthi is the 2020 Greater Austin Affiliate winner of the Award for Aspirations in Computing (AiC), a National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) award.  

This award honors 9th-12th grade students who self-identify as women, genderqueer, or non-binary for their computing-related achievements & interests and encourages them to pursue their passions. Award recipients are selected based on their aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing, as demonstrated by their computing experience, computing-related activities, leadership experience, tenacity in the face of barriers to access, and plans for post-secondary education. Since 2007, more than 17,000 students have received an Award for AiC.

The multi-tiered award structure includes Winner, Honorable Mention, Rising Star, and Certificate of Distinction designations at National and Regional Affiliate levels, serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, all U.S. overseas military bases, and Canada. Regional Affiliate Award programs are hosted in 79 locations nationwide by NCWIT Alliance member organizations—a national network of universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations working to increase the influence and meaningful participation of girls and women from every community.

The NCWIT Award for AiC is sponsored by Apple, Bank of America, Microsoft, and Motorola Solutions Foundation.

Furthermore, through her engagement with this community, Sruthi participated in an Apple-sponsored workshop conducted by its female employees where she learned to write a technical resume, prepare for a technical interview, and further comprehend Git.