Alexander R. Norris Space View Internship Written 10 October 2017

About the Alexander R. Norris Space View Internship
Laurie and Alexander Norris

Alexander “Al” Norris was an aerospace engineer whose 37-year career—like many AIAA members of his generation— spanned the ups and downs that came with the extraordinary evolution and growth of the aerospace industry in the 20th century. Born in 1914, Norris grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He attended New York University, graduating with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering (1936) and master of science in engineering (1939). On the eve of World War II, Norris began working as an aircraft designer and stress engineer. His career took him from the propeller age to the jet age, and then into the space age. His resume included storied names like Republic Aircraft, Chase Aircraft, McDonnell Douglas, and Grumman Aircraft. He contributed to the U.S. Navy’s development programs to design aircraft compatible with extreme polar environments. In Gibraltar and North Africa he helped reconstruct wreckage after aircraft disasters.

His work with the Navy earned him the Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his expertise. His long career and numerous professional achievements were crowned with his work as a Senior Design Engineer on the design for the prototype of the hatch and contributing to the landing gear design of the Lunar Excursion Module. In August 2013, Laurie Norris, the daughter of the late Alexander R. Norris, contacted AIAA to propose a directed gift to the AIAA Foundation to fund two undergraduate internships over the next five years in memory of her father, ultimately establishing the Alexander R. Norris Space View Internships.

Laurie, along with her late husband Clarence Pearson, established a number of internships honoring her family and reflecting their passions and interests. She felt AIAA and the AIAA Foundation were a natural fit for internships to honor her father and his career in aerospace, and to help the generation of engineers learn about the aerospace industry first hand. “I selected AIAA to administer this internship in my father’s name because of AIAA’s mission and program fostering aerospace ingenuity and collaboration, which reflect my father’s own professional career and commitment to aerospace,” said Norris. “We are so appreciative of Laurie and Clarence’s generosity,” said Sandy Magnus, AIAA executive director and AIAA Foundation president. “Without their gift, this program would not be possible. We look forward to the years ahead in fulfilling the goals of the internship and giving undergraduate students the opportunity to learn about all that the aerospace industry has to offer.”

The interns will be working 7–10 hours a week from September to May at AIAA Headquarters in Reston, Virginia. limiting the program to students from the accredited engineering programs in metropolitan Washington, DC. Recruitment began in early summer and the final evaluation and selection of candidates was completed in late September.