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Baleigh Doyle Excels During NASA Internship

December 16, 2017

University of Montana Western Junior Baleigh Doyle spent her summer at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland analyzing data for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Baleigh Doyle
Montana Western Math Major, Baleigh Doyle.

Doyle grew up in Parker, Colo., a large suburb outside of Denver, but she has roots in Montana, specifically at Montana Western. The Roe House, where Doyle was interviewed, was also the childhood home of her father.

Doyle officially decided to attend the University of Montana Western after her grandfather gave her a tour of the campus.

Doyle has excelled at math since enrolling at Montana Western. Her good grades helped get her a job as a tutor along with her internship for NASA.

However, like most students, she had one class that truly challenged her:

“Scientific glassblowing was very stressful. It was the first art class I’ve taken. It helped me realize how other people feel when they do math. I got a couple burns, ruined some clothes, but I passed the class.”

In a previous story, Doyle was interviewed about her then-upcoming internship for NASA.

That internship was completed over the summer, and she had a lot to say about it:

“NASA was awesome. It was a culture shock. I had to sit in traffic for three-to-four hours a day, but the NASA community also reminded me of Dillon. It’s very tight-knit and supportive.”

Baleigh Doyle at Poster Session
Baleigh Doyle with her research team members Rebecca Derro (left), Geraldine Robbins (middle), and Ginger Robinson (far right) during the NASA Summer Internship Poster Session.

While there, she saw the newly built James Webb Telescope, Hubble 2.0, and “some stuff that went up in the international space station.”

Flight Center
Baleigh at the Wallops Flight Facility where rockets are launched.

Doyle’s path to NASA was not always set in stone. She originally planned to become a teacher before she decided “to focus on more pure math and statistics.” Movies like “Interstellar” and “Hidden Figures” helped pique her interest in space although her experiences at NASA have made it hard for her to watch films about space without over analyzing them.

On potentially becoming an astronaut, she said, “No one tried to ask me; besides, I like Earth too much.”

Doyle was asked to continue working for NASA remotely at the conclusion of her internship. She accepted and believes it wouldn’t be possible without the one-course-at-a-time block scheduling system and Experience One program implemented at the University of Montana Western.

Doyle plans to work for NASA once she finishes school.

“Things look very good. I already have another summer internship. I hope to eventually be a program manager. I also want to get a couple of masters degrees and a Ph.D.”

Doyle’s future will most likely take her far away from the University of Montana Western, but there is a possibility she may return to Montana, someday, in the far-off future.

“I’ve tutored since my junior year in high school. Most of my family work in education. It runs in my blood. I like to see the light bulbs go off. After all my work for NASA, it would be nice to come back and retire as a professor at Montana Western.”