Mizzou SEDS blasts to SpaceVision 2018 to build a better space

Students in nice shirts and khakis pose with an award next to a Lockheed Martin poster.

Lockheed Martin brought their Challenge Box which requires students to answer complex engineering questions in order to gain entrance. Unsurprisingly, Mizzou’s members had no troubling cracking it. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Freihaut.

From Nov. 1-3, members of Mizzou’s Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) rocketed to sunny San Diego to attend the SpaceVision 2018 conference.

SpaceVision, hosted this year at the University of California, San Diego, is the national conference for SEDS chapters across the United States. Students learned from experts in the aerospace industry and networked with similar organizations, sharing ideas on how to improve their own chapters.

There was a workshop about implementing liquid rocketry and a career fair with big-name companies such as Lockheed Martin and SpaceX, making the conference an invaluable experience to Mizzou SEDS.

For Elizabeth Freihaut, the outreach chair for Mizzou’s chapter, this was her first time attending SpaceVision, and it provided her with opportunities unavailable to her at home.

“We don’t get a chance to talk to these companies face-to-face ever outside of SpaceVision. If we didn’t send students, we would just be applying online and sending a Hail Mary, and maybe we’ll get a call back,” she said.

And because Freihaut was able to make personal connections with recruiters at SpaceVision, she received an offer for a full-time position at Lockheed Martin. And she wasn’t the only one. Jessica Austin is another member of SEDS who has a potential future job thanks to the conversations she had while at the conference.

“It’s already expanded my future because the people at Boeing flat-out love me. They reached out to me, and they were actually trying to work with me to get me into not only an internship, but a job in the future,” Austin said.

The main perk of going to SpaceVision is that it helps bring students into contact with recruiters who rarely come to the Midwest, and it allows students to showcase Mizzou’s world-class College of Engineering.

Freihaut said, “It boosts Mizzou’s reputation as a school for engineering. We’re not really known for engineering, but we have this incredible engineering program. It’s really great to be able to go to these conferences and let people know that.”

Though networking was a major part of the conference, there were also activities and events aimed at challenging SEDS members to think outside of the box. Lockheed Martin brought their Challenge Box, which requires students to answer complex engineering questions in order to gain entrance. Unsurprisingly, Mizzou’s members had no troubling cracking it.

According to Freihaut, it was the coolest part of the conference.

“It was eerily lit. It was in this dark room, so we kind of all came together as our team from SEDS Mizzou, and we answered one of the questions and we got in the box,” she said. “And it was nice because if you were a challenge box winner, they put you in their system as one of the winners so that when you went to talk to them at the career fair, it kind of registers with them that you have what it takes to work for Lockheed [Martin].”

Members also spent the weekend discussing what it will take to build a better space, the topic of this year’s conference.

“Building a better space — that’s right now in industry, so we need to be right there with it. For me personally, since I obviously have a passion for space, it can only go up from here. Why go back? All you need to do is go forward,” Austin said.

The trip to SpaceVision may have been a long one, but overall it paid off for Mizzou SEDS.

“I networked with people literally all over the place, met people I literally never would have met if I didn’t go to SpaceVision,” she said. “It’s not only developed me as a person already, but it’s going to in the future as well. I recommend it for everyone; it’s super exciting.”

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