FAIRBANKS, Alaska In a lab at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, engineering students are working on projects for NASA, as a part of a congressionally mandated program called 'Space Grant.' The program puts engineering projects and science projects in universities across the country.
"So that students can start working on NASA related missions, and NASA uses it as a workforce development program so the students get experience, while they're still in school on how to be engineers and scientists and NASA gets to pick the cream of the crop to go and work for them," said Director of Alaska Space Grant Denise Thorsen. She says they have had several students from UAF go on to work for NASA.
One of UAF's Alaska Space Grant projects is the Space Systems Engineering Program. "And what we do at this lab is we bring together a collection of interdisciplinary students, and they work on NASA style projects, that means that we work on building satellites, from mission design to actual hardware design, implementation and launch," said Thorsen.
Two freshman mechanical engineering students talked about what they are taking away from working in this lab.
"It definitely gives you a glimpse into the professional world, as much as you can get in a college setting," said Terran Lavonn, Mechanical Engineering Student.
"I've learned a lot more from this lab than I have some of my real classes, to be honest, I'm very much a hands on learner, and this is very much a hands on project," said Evan Joshua Jones III, Mechanical Engineering Student.