Addressing aerospace workforce needs: The impact of hands-on space systems project experiences on career choices

Sven Bilen, Mieke Schuurman, Lisa Brown, Timothy Wheeler, Julio Urbina

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Several reports have recently been released on the looming workforce issues within the aerospace industry. To address these workforce needs, a number of universities have developed projects, laboratories, and/or courses that target the fundamental education and training of university students in the space systems field. Although a fair bit of anecdotal evidence exists that these types of space systems projects are strong motivators for students to enter spacerelated fields, at Penn State we have sought to measure this effect via a series of exit surveys for graduating seniors in electrical and aerospace engineering. Although we have specific interest in the aerospace field, we are also interested in assessing how students' participation in design projects and other hands-on activities affects students' career choices. We believe that these experiences can have a great impact. We chose the aerospace field for our pilot study because it is of particular interest to us, but also because the aerospace field is reasonably well defined and space-related programs and activities are fairly easy to identify, as are companies in the space field. Our initial data confirm that space systems-related activities indeed increased students' interest in space-related careers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2008
Event2008 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Pittsburg, PA, United States
Duration: Jun 22 2008Jun 24 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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