I'm Nicole and even though I may not be an engineer (actually a Mathematical Physics major from a school in New Hampshire probably nobody has heard of), I have some similar experiences.
I've wanted to work for NASA doing research since I was in the 5th grade. My teacher (Hi Mr. Lemoine!) restored the observatory behind my elementary school and every week the astronomy club would go out there and look at all the awesome objects out in the universe. Also, he signed up my entire class to have our names put on two dvds. One would go on Spirit, and the other would go on Opportunity. MY NAME IS IN SPACE? HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT?!?! But let's get back to Earth and talk about my research :)
Just like Serena, I am working as an undergraduate intern at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. My project is The Balloon Experiment Twin Telescope for Infrared Interferometry (BETTII) project. Basically it's a telescope attached to a giant high-altitude balloon that will test wide-field double Fourier interferometry (which has been demonstrated in a laboratory testbed, but never in a flight-like environment).
If you don't understand a word that I just said, don't worry! I didn't understand most of it when I first got to NASA. I've actually worked here last fall semester so I was familiar with some Infrared Interferometry, but didn't really know the details of it. But that's the greatest thing about science, in particular research. You can take something that you may not understand or comprehend at the beginning, and by the end you're an expert at your project! It's something I love, the feeling of slow discovery... it's kind of addicting to a nerd like me.
Just felt the need to introduce myself before I started posting things. Nice to meet everyone!