||Very Small: Adelaide, Matthew Tetlow, section chair. ISS – International Young Professionals Panel. The panel was made up of a group of young professionals: Andrea Boyd, ISS Operator at the European Astronaut Centre, Kathleen Coderre, Systems Engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre, and Maria Kuleshova, Technical Engineer, from Moscow. They each talked about their country’s ISS experience and human spaceflight program, together with the selection process to become an astronaut. Following their talks, there was a question and answer period to ask about the ISS and the path that each young professional has taken in their career.
Small: Northwest Florida, Ben Dickenson, section chair. Exploring Mars. The NW Florida Section of AIAA organized and led a lecture series from NASA Engineer Bobak Ferdowsi. Mr. Ferdowsi was a ground level engineer on the Mars Curiosity Rover program. He also entered into pop-culture when he famously wore a Mohawk in the control room during the initial landing of the Curiosity Rover. He quickly became known as the ‘Mohawk Engineer’ and became the voice of the program. Mr. Ferdowsi was brought in by the local section and provided three lectures in one day. The first lecture was just for local students where more than 1100 students showed up to learn about the NASA program. The second event was held for the award winning Niceville High School Robotics Club. This event was an intimate lunch with Mr. Ferdowsi and 15 students. The third event was a more technical briefing provided by Mr. Ferdowsi to AIAA members and other space enthusiasts on Eglin AFB. This briefing was attended by 105 professionals and was well received.
Medium: Michigan, Thomas Mirowski, section chair. Rocket Labs. Engineers from the Michigan section built and launched real rockets from Estes Rockets with students at K-12 schools. A team of two visited each class to give a brief presentation on rocketry and then build and launch rockets with a rocket for every 2-3 children. The presentations demonstrated details surrounding the rockets history, importance, and science and math. The members also shared stories on how they became engineers and what they do at their jobs. The rockets were provided by a grant from AIAA and the Michigan Section. The number of students exposed to aerospace as a career as well as the positive experience that the engineers and teachers had will certainly make the event worth repeating and expanding next year.
||Large: Orange County, Joseph Justin, section chair. Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) and Rocketry Club. The Orange County Section sponsorship of TARC was part of the Section’s STEM and Educational Outreach program. TARC is an international rocketry contest. The Orange County section mentored 10 teams that designed, built & flew a rocket to 825 feet, in timed flight carrying two raw eggs. The competition was open to 7th through 12th graders. The top 100 teams competed in Washington DC. The Orange County Section mentored teams from 13 cities and 16 schools.
In addition, the Section actively supports the AIAA Orange County Rocketry club. The rocketry club is for all ages but aimed at getting youth involved with science, engineering and technology through rocketry. The club meets once each month and has at least one launch outing each month. Students begin by building commercial kits, then go on to design and build rockets using a Computer Aided Design program.
Very Large (tie): Greater Huntsville, Ram Ramachandran, section chair. National Engineers Week. The Greater Huntsville Section organized a week full of activities. They conducted activities to promote STEM for each phase of educational development (K-12, College, YP, Professional). They held a panel of Young Professionals (YP) on the topic of Additive Manufacturing at AIAA's Technical Committee on Management (TCM). They also held a YP mixer with members of the AIAA TCM which was well attended. Additional activities included a tour of United Launch Alliance’s manufacturing facility in Decatur, Alabama. The section and the University of Alabama in Huntsville Student Branch co-hosted a lecture by Dr. Mark Tischler, Army Senior Technologist at Ames Research Center and they also co-hosted the 20th Annual Great Paper Airplane Contest.
Very Large (tie): Pacific Northwest, Kimberly Hicks, section chair. Rising Leaders Forum. This Technical Symposium brings many professionals together from across their disciplines. The Rising Leaders Forum provides an opportunity for young professionals (YPs) to have special professional growth opportunities and to create a community of YPs passionate about aerospace engineering. The Forum included a standing-room only presentation discussing Professional Development in a Changing Aerospace Environment and recommendations for today’s rising leaders to become successful. As part of this event, the AIAA YPs were invited to participate in the speed mentoring portion of the program.