Student partnership for advancement of cosmic exploration (space)

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WVU SPACE founder

allison willingham

Space exploration has been an interest of mine since grade school, but I never thought that coming to West Virginia University would eventually lead me to an internship with NASA. It was an amazing opportunity to be funded by the WV Space Grant Consortium and sent to Langley Research Center to work with some of the leading engineers in the aerospace industry. Upon my return to WVU I was excited about NASA and space exploration. I wanted to share my experiences and encourage other students to reach for their goals as I had. I wanted them to know how to become involved in space exploration here and find opportunities at West Virginia University that they may not have known existed.
The same excitement about space brought the founders of SPACE together to create a club that would make the students’ path toward a career in space exploration less difficult and give inspiration to upcoming college students. This would be accomplished in several ways. First, the club would develop outreach programs for the community as well as currently enrolled students to inspire them and offer a connection to those in the space industry. The club would also centralize the opportunities already available at WVU and present these opportunities to students. Research, funding, internships, networking, and classes would all be available in one place for students to find. New opportunities would be created so that eventually WVU might be a place identifiable with an excellent track toward space-related careers. Finally, the club would eventually become a nationally recognized organization, with branches at multiple universities, all promoting space exploration and providing opportunities to the newest generation of explorers.
SPACE may evolve over time, but the basic idea of providing students with the means to be prepared mentally and academically for going out into the space industry should be central. The advancement of cosmic exploration cannot be accomplished without the enthusiasm and preparedness of today’s college students. If SPACE can promote that enthusiasm and give opportunities to students then it is achieving the original goals that it set out to meet.
Expand, encourage, and promote student opportunities that contribute toward space exploration.