NASA recruiters to visit SU as part of tour
NASA is looking to recruit SU students shooting for the stars – literally.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration representatives will meet with students in November as part of an aggressive new recruitment policy to attract future graduates into its programs.
Syracuse University is one of 40 institutions NASA plans to host for its ‘NASA Awareness Days’ series.
‘We expect to actually hire people as a result of these visits,’ said Gretchen Cook-Anderson, director of public affairs for NASA’s education department.
NASA officials have an array of activities scheduled for their visit November 14-16, including flight simulators and other interactive technology.
‘There are a number of areas we are looking into for hiring,’ Cook-Anderson said. ‘We aren’t just looking for future astronauts. We need people in finance, business, public affairs and other areas needed to run everyday tasks of NASA.’
Although the university has not yet announced specific details of the program to students, Barry Davidson, a professor in the mechanical, aerospace and manufacturing engineering department, said he expects wide student interest.
‘Students will want to see about jobs,’ he said. ‘They can interact and show NASA research they’ve done, what they’ve learned and have questions answered.’
Thong Dang, director of the department of mechanical, aerospace and manufacturing engineering, said many students in the engineering program have an interest in working for NASA.
‘When potential students visit the campus, they often ask if we work with NASA,’ he said. ‘Students want to work for NASA.’
In the past, SU faculty and students have teamed with NASA to do research on hypersonic speeds, flow control and propulsion engines.
‘We have good facilities and a great faculty,’ Dang said. ‘Our students are some of the top in the nation.’
Cook-Anderson said she was unsure of the criteria used to select the schools, but acknowledged the reputation of SU’s engineering program.
‘[NASA administrator] Sean O’Keefe is a Syracuse alum, and typically when there are activities for NASA, he holds Syracuse near and dear to his heart,’ she said.
O’Keefe graduated in 1978 with a masters of public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed him the 10th administrator of NASA.
Currently, SU participates along with Cornell University in an interactive cooperation project called Advanced Interactive Discovery Environment.
Davidson said students work with NASA on this web-based system to support collaboration of geographically scattered locations.
‘NASA has a number of people from different sites who need to collaborate,’ Davidson said. ‘AIDE tries to make this more effective by allowing software sharing and PC conference talks.’
The $1 million project funded by NASA is a very effective educational tool, Davidson said.
‘It gives students good experience for future work,’ he said.
Students interested in attending the recruitment session must register and submit their resumes online at www.nasajobs.nasa.gov.
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