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Department ofPhysics


Summer internship Propels SCU Student Toward NASA Career

Applies math and physics to NASA simulation

Applies math and physics to NASA simulation

Noah Lordi
Noah Lordi

By Michaela Pernetti ‘19

For many students, finding a summer internship can feel like rocket science, but for rising senior Noah Lordi ‘20 (Engineering Physics), it really is. This summer, Lordi worked for NASA doing simulation work for additive manufacturing processes — essentially, he is working with a 3D printer that functions with melted metal rather than plastic. As completing stress tests on this metal is wasteful and expensive, Lordi is implementing a computer model that will describe the dimensions of the melt pool created as the laser passes over the powdered metal. The resulting data will explain the relevant thermal information which can then be used to evaluate stresses in the metal.

Hailing from Centennial, Colorado, Lordi was originally drawn to Santa Clara because of the size, location, and programs available, as well as the tech environment of the Silicon Valley. Now a senior, he credits Santa Clara’s outstanding faculty and small class sizes for helping him build personal relationships with professors. Santa Clara has helped him develop his skills in physics, math, computer science, and technical writing. His professors motivate and challenge him every day, he notes.

Lordi was assisted in his job search by his engineering physics advisor, Dr. John Birmingham (Physics), and the department chair, Dr. Betty Young (Physics), in refining his resume and connecting with NASA’s Intelligent Systems Division.

Lordi describes his summer job, jointly funded by NASA and the College of Arts and Sciences’ REAL Program, as “a very specific application of a lot of important math and physics.” He explains that this exposure is “hard to teach in a classroom.” The experience has given him a better perspective of what engineering physics looks like as a career, and has pushed him to “become more receptive and a quicker learner” because there won’t always be a professor there to help him problem-solve.


About the REAL Program

The College of Arts and Sciences developed the REAL Program to allow students to discover their interests, gain a rich understanding of a particular field, discern their career goals, and explore future employment fields. We believe financial means should not determine whether or not a student can participate in internships, research, or creative works opportunities. Committed to providing paid experiential learning opportunities for students, the REAL program provides stipends up to $5,000 for undergraduate opportunities lasting up to 10 weeks over the summer. In 2018, its first year, the REAL Program distributed $550,000 to over 125 students.

For more information about the REAL Program, email

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