This year’s sold-out AeroSpace Ventures Day at CU Boulder’s University Memorial Center drew a crowd of thought leaders and representatives from across Colorado’s vibrant aerospace community––including senior technology officers, small business executives and engineers from leading companies.
Together, attendees discussed the state of the industry, caught up on the latest research and networked with students eager to explore careers in the field.
“AeroSpace Ventures Day is our premiere event of the year that brings together industry partners with CU faculty, staff and students to discuss the latest developments in the aerospace sector and how our research and education programs can support them,” says Abby Benson, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation, Industry Collaboration and AeroSpace Ventures. “We are so thankful for the robust participation of so many of our partners that made this day a big success.”
Brig. Gen. John E. Shaw, Director of Strategic Plans, Programs, Requirements and Analysis, Air Force Space Command, delivered a keynote address that focused on security in space and the importance of seeing future challenges as current opportunities.
“As space becomes more and more central to what we do, the government not only has an opportunity to provide enhanced security, but to partner with industry and academia to grow new technologies and capabilities for the benefit of mankind,” Shaw said. “How do we integrate everything that’s going on in space better? How do we move faster? And how do we work together to make it all happen? That’s what I want to hear from you.”
In addition to panel discussions on workforce development and student projects, attendees heard research presentations from faculty and students working in a wide range of focus areas, from space weather and Earth science data analytics to small satellites, cybersecurity and unmanned aerial systems.
Aaron Aboaf, a student in aerospace engineering sciences, had the opportunity to join the workforce discussion as a panelist. “I’ve never done that before,” he said. “It was cool to get a chance to exchange ideas with people within the industry and receive immediate feedback. I’d definitely do it again.”
After the event, students attended a reception staffed by in-state aerospace companies, where they had a chance to get pressing career questions answered and make vital networking connections.
Rebekah Haysley, a mechanical engineering student minoring in computer science, said she was excited to investigate other possibilities in the field after interning for two years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, as a systems engineer.
“That’s the great thing about an internship,” she said. “It gives you the opportunity to narrow things down to what really interests you.”