Iowa State AIAA Student Branch visits LA for industry tour

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Students pose in front of the Falcon 9, which is on display at SpaceX headquarters.

Students from the Iowa State AIAA student branch visited aerospace engineering companies over Thanksgiving break. Fifteen students flew to Los Angeles, Calif. for two days of tours and sightseeing.

The group visited Boeing Satellite Systems, SpaceX, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, NASA Armstrong, and also viewed the Space Shuttle Endeavour and the USS Iowa.

ISU AIAA President Layne Droppers enjoyed seeing some of the new innovations that have yet to hit the market.

“There has been a lot in the news about the flexible wings they are testing now so we got to see that at NASA,” Droppers said. “At SapceX we had the chance to see a lot of the hardware that has come back from space that they are planning on reusing in their rockets. I thought that was really cool.”

Cory Preston, who serves as Corporate Relations Chair of ISU AIAA, wanted to expose the students to as much of the aerospace industry as possible when he was planning the trip.

“AIAA did a similar trip three years ago,” Preston said. “Los Angeles is a really great area because there is a lot of aerospace industry there, so it was the perfect spot for us to visit.”

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The students outside of Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.

The students had the chance to speak to many engineers during their visits and get a feel for the companies and the employees who work there. They also spoke with Iowa State alumni at several of the stops who offered advice and insights about working in aerospace engineering.

“We could interact with people in the industry and had the opportunity to ask questions of engineers who are working there now,” Michael Mohr, VP of the ISU AIAA Student Branch said. “That was one of the goals of the trip is to get students in front of people who are actually working there to get an idea of how the companies function.”

The trip was beneficial to give students an idea of what the industry holds for future job opportunities and to hear what it takes to land a job at one of those companies.

To see more photos and video of the trip, visit the ISU AIAA Facebook page.