Battelle Center students present research in Australia at the world’s largest gathering of aerospace professionals
Recent research affirms (yet again!) that employers prize graduates who can communicate well, are creative, know how to collaborate, appreciate the value of other disciplines, and are culturally competent. [The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030]
The International Astronautical Congress 2017 in Adelaide, Australia provided a perfect opportunity for Battelle Center students to cultivate and showcase exactly those abilities.
Six graduate and undergraduate students Nick Salamon, Jon Grimm, Andrew Steen, Ariadna Martinez-Gonzalez, Kayleigh Gordon and Samuel Malloy — rose to the challenge of designing their own research projects, capturing the results in a manuscript, and delivering a compelling oral presentation. Their work had to be competitively selected for presentation by the International Astronautical Federation, the world’s oldest and largest professional association for aerospace. The students’ proposals competed in an ‘open field’ with those of working professionals.
Click here to read the students' abstracts
The students spent the summer doing the research and then practicing the presentation before audiences, developing networking skills, and learning about the practicalities of traveling abroad. Kayleigh Gordon’s presentation was delivered by co-author because she was part of a White House internship program in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
At the Congress, they enjoyed private meetings with acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot and Bill Nye the Science Guy, President of The Planetary Society. They also interacted with executives of space agencies and companies from around the world, in addition to enjoying dozens of technical research sessions and a presentation by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Two of the students made the semi-finals for best Interactive Presentation in a field of over 150.
The aerospace industry is highly multi-disciplinary, and the students’ work reflected that. Their projects included:
- a memorial paper for U.S. Senator and Astronaut John Glenn in the history session
- a feasibility study for evaluating the effectiveness of agricultural policy in Mexico using satellite Earth observations
- case studies to explore whether we can predict emerging infectious disease outbreaks by using satellite Earth observations and how predictors could be incorporated into the policy system
- an analysis of Chinese launch vehicles and their market position
- an exploration of virtual reality applications’ value for sustaining astronauts’ long-term mental health
- a concept for an in-orbit space tug that can move cargo around as a ‘delivery service’.
Student reactions say it best:
- “The IAC has been the highlight of graduate school! Thank you for making it happen.”
- “It is all about relationships! The more I progress in my career, the more I understand that creating, maintaining, and strengthening relationships create opportunities and make life more interesting.”
- “Pretty freaking awesome!”
- “It was really surprising how friendly the most important people in the industry are. Everyone was very accessible.”
- “The conference opens opportunities to connect with people doing similar things in the world. It’s really exciting.”
- “It was massive in every dimension: technical content, culture, networking, like-minded peers, exhibitions, ideas and plans, big names.”
- “We were not just meeting heroes in the field. I took the most away from our meetings with other students in the field. A lot of Australian students were very impressed at what we [Ohio State] could do, it is a real confidence-boost. We absolutely deserve to be there.”