New summer marketing intern working on CSPAR, FTPP projects

deonna banks
Deonna Banks says she's filled with enthusiasm for her internship.

The new summer marketing and coordination intern for The University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR) and its Future Technologies & enabling Plasma Processes (FTPP) grant office looks forward to gaining valuable experience as she pursues a primary or secondary education career with the goal of becoming an administrator.

A senior majoring in education at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, which is also her hometown, new intern Deonna Banks says she’s excited to immerse herself in FTPP activities.

“I’m eager to develop expertise in marketing and coordination,” she says. “I believe this opportunity could provide me with invaluable experience essential for aspiring administrators.”

FTPP Outreach Coordinator Laura Provenzani has wasted no time putting Banks to work.

“We are delighted to have Deonna here for the summer internship and I look forward to working closely with her on several important projects,” Provenzani says.

gaining experience

The internship will provide an opportunity for Banks to gain experience in marketing, communications and project administration, Provenzani says. As part of Banks’ internship, she will be sponsored by FTPP to attend the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Boule 2024 and Undergraduate Summit in Dallas, Texas.

“Laura has given me the task of assisting her with facilitating a lesson for the Tech Trek camp,” Banks says. “For this task, she has asked me to create a presentation on particle detection that will be presented to 64 eighth-grade students. This is a preliminary activity serving as practice for a larger outreach initiative on the horizon.”

Another assignment is to create a booklet that will serve as a guide for International Space Weather Summer Camp students.

“This initiative aims to provide students with resources such as dining options, exploration destinations, schedule management and navigation guidance,” Banks says.

FTPP is funded by a $20 million National Science Foundation Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research grant and managed by UAH. It’s a consortium of nine Alabama universities and a research corporation to fund cutting-edge university plasma physics research, commercialize new plasma technologies and develop an Alabama plasma science and engineering workforce to stimulate thousands of high-paying jobs.


Banks joins the CSPAR and FTPP teams after being chosen as one of 10 competitively selected candidates from a pool of 1,500 as part of the second cohort of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. South Eastern Regional Power of Internships in South Eastern (P.O.I.S.E.) initiative.

P.O.I.S.E. provides organizations and companies offering internships with a pool of well-prepared African American women undergraduates who completed or will soon be completing their undergraduate education within the next two years. It is designed to expose interns to professional career opportunities and information as they launch their careers. 

“After applying for the position, I was granted the opportunity to interview with Laura Provenzani and Veronica Belser,” a CSPAR research administrative associate, Banks says.

“Laura and Veronica were very welcoming,” she says. “We discussed the roles and duties of the marketing coordinator internship, and I informed them about how my background as an education major would be useful for this position, especially when it comes to K-12 outreach.” 

Banks says Provenzani and Belser are “great mentors” and that she is ready to make an impact.

“Every experience has been a valuable learning opportunity, and I’m fully confident in my ability to handle the tasks assigned to me. The atmosphere is exceptionally welcoming, with everyone exhibiting a friendly demeanor and a willingness to offer assistance,” she says.

“When I found out that I got the job I was filled with enthusiasm and prepared to demonstrate why their decision was a wise one.”