Nestled in the hills of West Virginia is NASA’s Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) program. In those same hills is one of Fairmont State University’s newest graduates, Isaac Lambert ‘14. Lambert is also one of NASA’s newest cyber security specialists, where he is working each day through the IV&V program to ensure the safety of communications and missions around the planet.
Lambert grew up looking at the giant rocket outside of the NASA IV&V program in Fairmont, but never really gave much thought to the impact that facility had around the planet or would have on his future. “As a kid I didn’t realize how special it was to have a NASA facility in my own backyard. We would pass it on the interstate and notice it was there but it didn’t yet impact me.”
It wasn’t until Lambert’s passion for computers and computer security connected with his sense of service to his country that working with NASA became an option for him. “Growing up I was always around computers—tinkering with them and exploring,” said Lambert. “I also remember being aware of my family’s history of military service and I knew that I wanted to give back to my country. When I learned about the NASA IV&V internship program and that it was available in my own community, it seemed like a natural fit.”
The feeling was not yet mutual for the IV&V program and Lambert would not be selected as an intern until his third attempt. “Unlike in high school where I did not have any specialized training, as a Fairmont State freshman majoring in computer security, I was a much more qualified applicant.”
And his dedication and perseverance despite being rejected two times prior was rewarded when Lambert was accepted as a NASA IV&V program intern. His internship began during his sophomore year and he jokes that he has never left. “After my yearlong internship I then moved over to working as a federal contractor and after graduating with my cyber security degree, I moved directly to federal service with IV&V.”
Today, Lambert works on various projects to ensure NASA can accomplish their missions. “As a member of NASA IV&V, we make sure missions are secure and that we can do what we need to do to accomplish the mission. For example, we ensure a clean path for communication is available between the space craft and ground station and make sure that no one is trying to jam that pathway and interrupt our mission.”
Fairmont State University is proud to highlight Isaac Lambert as part of our People of Excellence series. This series aims to highlight the impactful work being done by our students, faculty, staff and alumni.