Releasing history

Photos by NASA, ESA, CSA, STSCL, and Kerry Dahlen.

Last Christmas, Amrit Nam Khalsa, B.S. mechanical engineering ’18, woke up to a wonderful gift: the perfect launch of the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope, the largest, most complex space telescope ever built.

“I thought, ‘Finally, this is actually happening.’ Then I thought, ‘Now comes the hard part,’” Khalsa said. “The launch was not necessarily the hardest thing the telescope had to endure. There were still weeks of nail-biting deployments and positioning.”

Racing to space

Jill Lewis’ experience on the Global Formula Racing team led her to SpaceX

Jill Lewis (’11 B.S., Mechanical Engineering) didn’t set out to work at SpaceX, or even work in aerospace, but her experiences at Oregon State led her there.

Like many engineers, Lewis had an early interest in technology. As a child, she got her parents to take her to garage sales, where she found items like tripods and radios to play with. So, science and engineering were on her mind when she was planning for college.

Mechanical engineering helps student prepare for takeoff

When Kristen Travers went to see the 2017 film “Hidden Figures” her senior year of high school, she inadvertently found her career path.

“I was just so blown away and inspired by Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughn,” she said. “The math that Katherine Johnson was doing in the movie was the same math that I was learning in my calculus class at that time. I thought, ‘This is so cool. I have to study engineering.’”