Published: April 29, 2019

The partnership between Ball Corp. and the University of Colorado Boulder dates back to the very dawn of the space program.

At that time, Ball was a glassmaker facing declines in its core home canning business. It was looking for the next big thing and, after putting feelers out across the country, connected with a few CU Boulder faculty members working on early space research.

It was a new industry and a radical change for the company, but 60 years later, it is still paying dividends for Ball and CU. Ball has sponsored aerospace senior design projects, collaborated with faculty on research and hired hundreds of engineering graduates.

The partnership was broadened campuswide in 2018 with the first Ball Career Day. Engineering, business and communications students fanned out across the Denver area to tour various Ball manufacturing, administrative and research facilities before reconvening on campus for a networking reception with Ball employees.

“Having company senior leadership surrounding us like this is miraculous,” senior aerospace major Alejandro Corral said during the reception. “It was insane that one leader greeted me and shook my hand and started talking to me. Speaking to the company leaders like that was an experience you wouldn’t get at a career fair.”

2018 also marked the second year of the 
Ball Sisters program, which works to 
support women in engineering through a mentoring initiative that matches female students with a “sister” employee at Ball. Since its inception, the program has 
doubled in size, from 25 to 50 pairs.

“It is so rewarding to have a program that allows us opportunity to mentor our budding aerospace sisters,” said Michele Miller, Ball’s director of missions and systems engineering. “These future leaders from CU are able to leverage our various talents and experiences, and along the way, we also get to learn a thing or two from them. It’s fun!” 

As CU Boulder looks forward to new collaborations and opportunities, those who know Ball’s contributions to the aerospace program can already vouch for the benefits they bring to the university.