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NASA intern discovers the fastest way to lose a job at NASA

Published Aug 23rd, 2018 12:57PM EDT
nasa intern fired
Image: Willy D

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For someone just starting their career path, scoring at internship at a company or organization you admire can be pretty exciting. When that internship is with none other than NASA, we’re probably getting close to “dream come true” territory, so some serious celebration is obviously in order.

Unfortunately for one would-be NASA intern, that dream can quickly turn into a nightmare.  A Twitter user who goes by the handle ‘Naomi H’ recently discovered that it’s easy to cross the line and risk your internship status as well as your budding career in science, and all it took was a particularly vulgar social media exchange.

The saga began when Naomi H posted a tweet announcing that he or she had scored an internship with NASA. It was a bit verbose in its wording. “EVERYONE SHUT THE FUCK UP,” the tweet reads. “I GOT ACCEPTED FOR A NASA INTERNSHIP.”

Okay, fair enough. Obviously a bit of excitement going on there, but the fact that some employers keep a close eye on their staff’s social media dealings — and that we’re talking about NASA here — should probably warrant some more careful wording. A gentleman by the name of Homer Hickam told Naomi H as much. The soon-to-be-intern’s reply is, well, pretty rough.

“Suck my dick and balls,” the NASA hopeful replied. “I’m working at NASA.”

That’s when Hickam revealed that he’s actually a former NASA engineer and current member of the National Space Council which oversees NASA. Eesh.

It’s important to note here that Hickam’s status doesn’t give him any control over who NASA hires or fires, or which interns it allows through the door. Nevertheless, the would-be intern’s offer was rescinded shortly after the Twitter kerfuffle. Apparently Twitter had caught wind of the dustup because the #NASA hashtag was used in some of the replies that followed.

“I’m a Vietnam vet and not at all offended by the F-word,” Hickam wrote in a blog post that has since been deleted. “However, when I saw NASA and the word used together, it occurred to me that this young person might get in trouble if NASA saw it so I tweeted to her one word: ‘Language’ and intended to leave it at that.”

Hickam and Naomi H have since mended ties, and Hickam says he believes she does deserve the position. Whether or not he has the leverage to make it happen remains to be seen.

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