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"Rocket Women" Head to NASA Flight Facility

"Rocket Women" Head to NASA Flight Facility

09 Jun 14

LBCC students Ariel Stroh, Hazel Betz and Ashley Trout (left to right in photo above) will spend the week of June 21-26 at a RockOn workshop at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, where they will build a sounding rocket payload, or RocketSat, and launch it on a two-stage Terrier-Orion NASA rocket. Launch day is scheduled for June 26.

The trip was made possible through NASA's educational outreach program and the Oregon Space Grant Consortium (OSGC), of which LBCC is an affiliated higher-ed institution. Computer science instructor Parker Swanson will accompany the team as mentor.

Ashley, who lives in Albany and was home schooled, just finished her associate degree in Mechatronics, a non-traditional field for women.

"There’s a lot you can do with this degree, and aerospace is just part of it," says Ashely. "The Mechatronics program taught me how to work as a team and how to problem solve. Now, I'm looking at green energy jobs, more specifically working with wind turbines."

Ariel, from Grants Pass High School, attended OSU for a time before coming to LBCC. Initially she was interested in robotics, but after hearing a female Nike engineer talk about the mechanics of making a running shoe, her focus changed.

“There’s a creative side to engineering that interested me," said Ariel. "I like the hands-on part, and LBCC has a strong pre-engineering program that works closely with OSU. While in Greg Mulder's physics class, we worked on a wind tunnel experiment where we tested a model car to see how the force of wind creates drag on the car. Our job was to see what happened when we tried different things, like opening or closing the car doors and windows."

Hazel, a Corvallis High School graduate, came to LBCC unsure of her direction. "I was a general studies major until I took Denis Green's Troubleshooting Motors and Controls class. It really opened my eyes, and is a great stepping stone class for the next technology. I had limited experience with electronics, and the class really helped me learn how to wire things and how things work. The world is more automated and complex, so it helps to understand how computers and technology work. Basically, I get to play with all the stuff that is running the world. After that class, I changed my major to engineering. It's very hands-on, which I like.”