By Jade Kim, Operations Administrator at Base 11
Engineering students from Samueli High School in Santa Ana, CA were recently given one of the most eye-opening field trips of their academic lives: a tour of the Virgin Galactic hangar.
“My goal is to become a mechanical engineer, so getting a taste of what it is like on the job was beneficial,” said student Daniel.
Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides offered the opportunity to two winning schools who attended the Aerospace Workforce Development Symposium last September, of which Samueli High School was one. Thanks to a partnership between OC Pathways at the Orange County Department of Education and Base 11, these lucky high school seniors were able to board a bus all the way from Orange County to the Mojave Desert.
Students were able to tour the facilities, speak to real-life engineers, and perhaps the best part of all: see Spaceship both feather and unfeather not once, not twice, but three times, a privilege very few touring individuals are able to experience. This led to a stroke of insight for many of the awe-stricken students.
For 12th grader Randy, the whole experience showed him “…the importance of innovation. Virgin Galactic has very unique ways to handle certain problems, and those solutions that they come up with come from the innovation of the people who work there.”
Students were also able to hear from several types of engineers about their current jobs and the career paths they took to get there.
“I can essentially choose any form of engineering and still be able to apply it into the aerospace industry,” said student William.
Added one of the senior students, “Do something you like because you can change the world and you’re going to work hard if it’s something you love to do.”
The entire experience left students inspired, motivated, and ready to pursue careers in aerospace and beyond.
“I was able to see the dedication used to create something truly incredible. I want to use that sort of dedication to push myself to fulfill my own aspirations,” said student Aram.