Space Career Day: There are Jobs Out There

Written by: developer

The Space Foundation augmented 28th National Space Symposium activities with a Space Career Day program aimed at Space Grant students, students from National Space Grant universities and transitioning military. Co-sponsored by National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, the event provided information on current and future career opportunities, internships, industry trends and upcoming workforce needs. See photos here.

The agenda featured three guest speakers:

  • Colorado Lt. Governor Joe Garcia (pictured), who spoke on the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for robust space industry career fields
  • Hayden Planetarium Director, Author and COSMOS Host Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, who told students to use school as an opportunity to train their minds how to think, saying that the space industry “thrives on people with the ability to reduce problems to their basic components.” He also advised students to “pick a job that you would do for free and you will never have an unhappy day.”
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory WISE Deputy Project Scientist Dr. Amy Mainzer, who encouraged participants to attract people to the math/science field, saying “mentor people, especially young people. Share your love of science and engineering.”

During two Meet the Companies presentations, representatives from aerospace firms shared insights into the job market and strategies for landing positions. The speakers included:

  • Frank Backes, chief executive officer, Braxton Technologies
  • Ron Birk, director – business development sensing systems, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
  • Doug Dreyer, vice president – marketing & advanced programs, The SI Organization
  • J.D. Evans, project manager, ARES Corporation
  • Walt Everetts, executive director – satellite operations and SCS development, Iridium
  • Bryant Garcia, senior recruiter, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Brendan Houlton, lead engineer – space situational awareness business development team, Analytical Graphics, Inc.
  • Ron Ramos, vice president – exploration & missile defense systems, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne
  • Matt Smith, vice president – engineering & IT, United Launch Alliance
  • Toya Speckman, sr. HR manager – talent acquisition/diversity & inclusion, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
  • Donald Wussler, director – program performance, Air Force business unit, TASC

A common theme was the availability of jobs, internships and tuition support for student who pursued relevant degrees, particularly in the STEM area.

This article is part of Space Watch: June 2012 (Volume: 11, Issue: 6).