nasa internship

From September 2022 to September 2023, I was part of NASA CAS (Convergent Aeronautics Solutions) division. The goal of NASA CAS is to identify novel opportunity spaces for NASA Aviation in areas NASA traditionally would not be involved in. During my time at CAS, In my time at NASA, I participated in design efforts that involved healthcare, food insecurity, and more. Details of our work was featured on the NASA CAS website.

Note: NASA has restrictions on what can come out of its firewall so the materials I can show are quite limited.


I was part of the ZIA-HH (Zero Impact Aviation - Human Health) design effort, where we explored opportunities for aviation in the healthcare space. This effort explored the intersection of aviation and healthcare as well as health care access as distance increases. With human-centered design in mind, we conducted 90+ stakeholder interviews and 9 co-design sessions with stakeholders. By analyzing stakeholder data, trends, leverage points, and site-visit research, we identified six opportunity areas. The opportunity spaces identified are then handed off to an execution team for phase 2 benchmarking and concepting.

Double Diamond

CAS follows a double diamond workflow that is divided into Phase 1 and Phase 2. Phase 1 involved problem searching followed by problem converging. Phase 2 involved solution searching and solution converging. My team mostly worked on Phase 1 convergence design efforts (such as ZIA-HH) shown above.

In-person design session

In December 2022, I joined a 3-day, in-person design session at Glenn Research Center for the ZIA-HH project. We started by mapping future trajectories of topic areas through timelines (middle right image) and analyzing trends (bottom right image). Using data from research and stakeholder interviews, we created and refined Problem Canvases (top right image), consolidating them into 7 focused problem spaces, which were further refined into the topic areas below (shown below).

Emergency Medical Transport •
Non-Emergency Medical Transport •
Virtual-Physical Transitions •
Medical Aviation, Regulations •
Certifications, and Public Trust •
Donor Organ Transport •
Medical System Interoperability •

co-design sessions

There were 9 total co-design sessions focused on the 6 topic areas identified above, two of whic,h involving virtual-physical care transitions, I co-led. Stakeholders were presented brainstorming prompts and encouraged to ideate.


The prompts were informed by leverage points highlighting certain technologies and NASA capabilities identified in an earlier causal loop activity. Shown on the right is an example of how prompts were used to brainstorm. On the left are solution ideas and on the top are specific technologies. Stakeholders were then asked to synthesize ideas accordingly.

Rapid Storyboards

Rapid storyboards were an important tool used during these co-design sessions. They allowed attendees to rapidly align to an idea and to build a shared mental model of the topic area. These storyboards were often presented alongside brainstorming prompts to facilitate ideation and then further refined on as the session progresses.

visual Communication

The following are some examples of graphics I created used in co-design sessions, meetings, presentations, and reports.

IDeation ACtivities

One of my roles was to create methods and activities used in team design sessions and stakeholder co-design sessions.

System Mapping/Mess Mapping

I incorporated system mapping into the team’s workflow, and led several system mapping design sessions with the team. I felt that system mapping was a good way to immerse the team into the complexity of the problems we were tackling. System mapping was later adapted to causal loop diagramming and stakeholder mapping activities.

Leverage Points

I adapted Donna Meadow’s 12 points to interfere in a system into my activities to find where and NASA expertise can have the greatest impact. we first explored leverage points using causal loop diagrams, which we then refined into potential solution spaces.

Causal Loop Diagraming

I introduced a causal loop diagram activity to address the complexity of the “wicked problems” we faced. This activity, which incorporated leverage points, involved creating multiple diagrams to explore the self-perpetuating nature of different aspects of our problem space. The goal was to identify areas where NASA could act as a “dampening force” . (Shown above) The white and red bubbles represent the problem aspects and the blue bubbles represent leverage points for NASA.