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Oregon Tech’s Women Student Engineers Share Experience of Building and Launching a NASA Rocket

Nov 25, 2014
Oregon Tech women engineering students presented to a group of 65 fellow Oregon college students, professors, and K-12 teachers at a Symposium earlier this month in Corvallis at Oregon State University
Wilsonville, OR – Just watching the online video of the NASA rocket is impressive enough, but learning that Oregon Tech students were among the participants who built the component parts and then launched it is even more awe inspiring. Earlier this year Oregon Space Grant sponsored a team of three Oregon Tech students who are members of the Society of Women Engineers, and a team of three educators from the South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership to attend the five-day 2014 RockOn! Summer Workshop at Wallops Flight Center in Virginia. While the teachers brought the experience back to their classrooms in the form of lesson plans, Oregon Tech women engineering students presented to a group of 65 fellow Oregon college students, professors, and K-12 teachers at a Symposium earlier this month in Corvallis at Oregon State University.

Students and teachers worked in teams of three to build a sounding rocket payload from a kit and launch it into space. The Oregon educators in attendance included Steve Fulton from Tigard High School, Owen Griffiths from McMinnville Engineering and Aerospace Academy, and Terry Manning from Silverton High School. Oregon Tech students Alyssa Deardorff, Shelley Johnson, and Krista Galloway applied their hands-on, engineering design expertise developed at Oregon Tech in this unique aerospace experience. Teams also participated from Oregon State University and Linn-Benton Community College.

“This was an awesome opportunity to use and see hands-on, real world engineering at work,” said Shellie Johnson, an Oregon Tech junior who is pursuing a degree in Renewable Energy Engineering. “Working as a group and completing this project will forever be a memory that will have benefits for the rest of my career and life. Being able to tour the NASA facilities and talk to those who work there every day was exciting and educational. Meeting new people from across the United States who share my passion and enthusiasm made this trip complete.”
The Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium (OSGC) annually presents a Student Symposium, hosted on the OSU campus. OSU is the lead institution for the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium. The consortium is a group of institutions and individuals committed to promoting science, technology, engineering and math and to help train NASA’s next professionals. Jack Higginbotham, a professor of nuclear engineering and director of space studies for OSU, is the director of the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium.
The Symposium features a poster session and research presentations from OSGC-funded interns, fellows, team projects, and research scholarship awardees. College student interns and researchers from across Oregon shared their experiences and projects at this year’s NASA Student Symposium on November 14 with students, professors, and community partners. This year participants in the RockOn! Program joined in to share their experiences and data from the summer launch.

“This is a unique project in that teachers and college students are learning and struggling with new challenges side-by-side, incorporating the NASA rocket launch experiences and enthusiasm for engineering and space exploration onto their classrooms, college campuses, and learning institutions,” said Jill Hubbard, STEM Network Director, South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership. “We’re really proud of our student and teacher participants for extending themselves in this way, and thankful that the OSGC could support so many students and educators through the rocket development project, the multiplier effect of the Symposium, and sharing their experiences throughout the STEM Partnership.”

The South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership, housed at Oregon Tech’s Wilsonville campus, is the recipient of support from the Oregon Space Grant Consortium, and supported the participation of Oregon Tech student involvement in the NASA Student Symposium through a grant from the Oregon Department of Education. The Partnership is made up of K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and business and other organizations in Oregon.
About the South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership
The SMS STEM Partnership is a collaborative of community leaders, representing 15 school districts, 6 higher education institutions, 11 industry partners and 9 community organizations, with a vision to catalyze Oregon students to achieve STEM degrees and certificates, and reach Oregon’s education goals by increasing the access, excitement and engagement of students in STEM courses and experiential learning. For more information, contact Melissa Dubois, SMS STEM Hub Director, at melissa.dubois@oit.edu or www.oit.edu/stem or www.stemoregon.org.
About Oregon Tech
Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is the only public 4-year institute of technology in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Tech provides degree programs in engineering and health technologies, management, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public, and international communities through hands-on learning. Oregon Tech has a full-service, residential campus in Klamath Falls and an urban, industry-focused campus in Wilsonville. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Tech.
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