India Jackson, who is studying for a doctorate in physics at Georgia State University, got one step closer to her dream of working for NASA when she got into a prestigious summer internship at agency’s field center in Houston.
However, there was one problem: the cost. Jackson, who is also a single mother, would be required to pay for her own travel, housing and other expenses associated with the internship…something she wasn’t sure she would be able to afford, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I have to pay for rent in two places now, I have to rent a car, I have food, I have my child. What am I going to do?” she questioned, telling the news site her thoughts at the time.
Her cousin stepped in and suggested trying to raise money through a GoFundMe campaign. There, Jackson received an outpouring of love and support from people who didn’t even know her.
Within a day, those complete strangers raised $8,510 for Jackson, smashing her $8,000 goal out of the window.
“It really caught me off guard. It was amazing and it was overwhelming, and I was just blown away,” she said.
The money will cover round trip tickets to Houston for the mother and daughter duo, an Airbnb, car rental, summer membership/activities at the Boys and Girls Club and other miscellaneous expenses.
And just like that, Jackson was prepped and ready to embark on a life-changing 10-week experience, where she will analyze high-intensity radiation events and predict solar flares.
“I’m just blessed enough to be living in a time where everything is technology-driven, and this GoFundMe account was able to reach people around the world in order to help my cause,” she added.
Jackson has always wanted to work for NASA, but beyond that, her dreams expand even bigger. Once she finishes up her doctoral degree, she hopes to one day go into space.
“I want to go to the International Space Station,” she told AJC. “People think that I’m crazy. … They think that it’s impossible, but people also thought that it was impossible to do the things that I’ve done thus far.”