November 30, 2022

Space Dynamics Lab Opens Doors to CHaSS Students

CHaSS alumni working at SDL welcomed current students

CHaSS students and alumni connect at SDL (From left front row) Audrey Kandler, Emily Batig, Maria Tena, Stevie Graham, Jason Lambert (Row 2) Carson Anderson, Kassidi Andrus, Adelynn Shirts, Zoe Denison, Brittney Allen (Row 3) Ben Trette, Will Maughan, Ian Campbell, Daria Malovich, Tom Liljegren, Gary Earl (Photo Credit: SDL/Allison Bills) 

By Andrea DeHaan, CHaSS Communications Editor

Utah State University students in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences recently traveled off campus to meet alumni working for the Space Dynamics Laboratory.

On Nov. 16, a dozen CHaSS students and staff visited the SDL facility with five current employees who are graduates of the college. While touring several buildings and seeing machines and engineers at work, attendees could touch a satellite that had been to space and back without burning up in the atmosphere.

“I loved seeing a part of campus that I knew existed but really didn’t know anything about,” said Zoe Denison, a junior studying political science. “Alumni do so much more than I thought! The fact that they help conduct cutting-edge research and build highly specialized systems right here at USU is incredible.” 

On the surface, SDL, a U.S. Missile Defense Agency-sponsored University Affiliated Research Center, might not seem like the ideal setting for a road trip aimed at career exploration for students in the humanities and social sciences, but participating CHaSS alumni shared how their degrees had equipped them to work in the STEM-heavy setting. While the alumni varied in terms of majors and years of experience, they all agreed on the importance of internships, networking, and career exploration.

“It was so great interacting with CHaSS students on the tour,” said Jason Lambert. “As alumni, we noted during and after the event how excited we were about the work we do and how grateful we are for our degrees in the humanities and social sciences.”

The trip was organized by CHaSS Outreach Coordinator Brittney Allen, who works to facilitate connections between current and former students in the service of helping students think more concretely about career options beyond graduation.

“The event shines a bright light on some of the important work we are undertaking in CHaSS to help students learn about careers and how to pursue them,” said Dean Joseph Ward, who was also in attendance.

With preference given to juniors and seniors about to enter the workforce, the trip to SDL allowed students to ask questions and network with alumni working in various fields. It also reminded attendees that all companies need employees with skills in the areas of communication, problem-solving, and management.

Participating alumni included Senior Manager-Communications Emily Batig (English), Contracts Specialist Stevie Graham (political science), Senior Manager-East Audrey Kandler (political science ), Program Manager Group Lead Jason Lambert (English), and Human Resources Specialist Maria Tena (sociology).

The college has previously organized trips to Health Equity, Visa, and the Utah State Capitol. Allen says students looking to participate in upcoming events with college alumni should follow CHaSS on MyUSU and watch for email updates from her office.


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