By Niyati Chokshi, Co-Chair of AIAA LA-LV Events/Program
It was a very inspiring event which I am glad to have attended. Professor David Barnhart, an active research professor from USC’s Astronautics department imparted some wonderful perspectives and shared with the AIAA attendees his vision, his journey and the ample amount of knowledge which I am sure everybody was grateful for. He rightfully pictured the difference in technology used for missions back in 1960’s vs the technology used now. His motive was simply to bring forth that, even though the advanced tools did not exist during older missions, with the combination of heart and mind it was possible to achieve something unprecedented, and that when the Apollo was born. So, with the balance of advanced technology and dedication greater things are achievable. He highlighted his vision and the vision of USC by stating that, “we need to stop fearing failure, if we want to move past Apollo and own more such groundbreaking achievements”.
He shared his thoughts on STEM related degrees, jobs and how it will revolutionize the world coming ahead of us. He also encouraged to make STEM fun and accessible beyond classrooms because 70% of youth says science is their favorite subject when participating in youth development programs. He also shared with the us amazing videos of rocket launch from its first failure at the Mojave Desert, all the way to the successful rocket launch by USCRPL, which became the first rocket launch by a student group to reach the von karman line (edge of space). Moreover, he showcased the way he is helping the students to learn the language of satellites. I think his work on satellites and building a genderless connecting port to connect and disconnect to any space platform easily is fantastic. His presentation was very inspirational, and he is a true mark of an amazing and supportive professor. I am convinced that through his teachings more youth will get attracted to the STEM field and will reach great heights.