By Anna Claire Toxey
The University of Alabama (UA) College of Engineering hosted its seventh annual Space Days Nov. 15-17. The campus-wide event offered UA students who are interested in working in the space industry the opportunity to explore careers and network with industry leaders and recruiters.
“Space Days is a great event for our college to showcase some great aerospace companies and government agencies and have them meet our students,” said Dr. Mark Barkey, aerospace engineering and mechanics department head. “The state of Alabama has the fifth most aerospace engineers employed in all of the U.S. and has the highest concentration of aerospace engineers — and we educate many of them right here at UA. It is helpful to students in engineering to see what types of projects they might work on when they graduate and provide motivation for some of the subjects they study.”
This year’s event featured 15 leading industry employers including Aerojet Rocketdyne, Area-I, Beyond Gravity, Boeing, The Best and Brightest Initiative, Dynetics, i3, Jacobs Space Exploration Group, Kratos SRE, Linc Research, Lockheed Martin, NASA Marshall, United Launch Alliance, NASA Kennedy and Relativity Space.
“Space Days offers an opportunity for the Marshall Space Flight Center to share its interests with the University, meet with students and faculty and learn more about the University’s capabilities,” said Reggie Alexander, manager of the Partnerships and Formulation Office for NASA’S Marshall Space Flight Center. “By engaging in Space Days and seeing firsthand all that the UA has to offer, we can more easily develop the appropriate agreements and encourage the University’s investments enabling those partnerships. Strong and equitable relationships are key to all partnerships, and Space Days is another means to strengthening the relationship.”
Employers participated in an exhibit fair that allowed students to learn more about available jobs and internships as well as various informative panels relevant to the ever-growing industry. Panels focused on topics such as space exploration, transitioning to the workforce, women in the space industry, and resume and interview preparation.
“NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP), based at Kennedy Space Center, enjoyed participating in the UA College of Engineering Space Days last week,” said Tim Dunn, launch director for NASA’s Launch Services program. “Through our Rockets 101 presentation and one-on-one student interaction, LSP was able to share our mission of exploring space through unparalleled launch services. Our engagement with UA’s talented and high-performing students benefits NASA by exposing these students to the incredible internship and full-time opportunities in the space launch career field,” Dunn said.
Additionally, the second day of the event coincided with the historic launch of NASA’s Artemis I moon rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch of the uncrewed rocket marked NASA’s first mission to the moon in more than 50 years and was celebrated by students and industry partners alike during Space Days.
“A last-minute launch viewing party was pulled together where students learned about the overall Artemis Program, as well as the Space Launch System and Human Landing System,” said Kent Criswell, UA alumnus and systems engineer for NASA’s Human Landing System Program Office. “Seeing the many curious, inquisitive students at the Capstone who were willing to give up a few hours of sleep to watch the first launch of the most powerful rocket ever flown was emotional for me. These are the types of
moments they will remember for the rest of their lives and most certainly inspire the next generation of explorers. Since I couldn’t be at the launch, there was no other place I would have rather been than with those students at The University of Alabama.”
In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s College of Engineering has more than 5,800 students and more than 150 faculty. In recent years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz, Boren, Mitchell and Truman scholars.
Author: Anna Claire Toxey / Posted on: November 21, 2022 / Posted in: Events