On March 30, Binghamton University hosted the first conference on aerospace held at an academic institution in the Northeast.
The conference, the New York State Space Symposium (NYSSS), was held by Bing Space, a group dedicated to advancing aerospace opportunities on campus. The day-long event, held in Appalachian Collegiate Center, was filled with presentations by various guest speakers, networking opportunities and hands-on case work. Guest speakers included Monica Majors, director of diversity programs and initiatives at the Watson School of Engineering and Donald Halstead, lead systems engineer at the Harris Corporation.
Chloe Long, president of Bing Space and a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, said the symposium aimed to provide students with an opportunity to learn about and explore the aerospace industry.
“We don’t have an aerospace major or minor in Watson, and so we lack the academic opportunities to pursue a career in space,” Long said. “So the purpose of Bing Space, and the symposium, is to make up that lack because aerospace is becoming a really big field.”
The symposium was funded by a NASA grant that Bing Space received in fall 2018 and sponsorship from the Watson school. The grant was issued by the New York Space Grant Consortium, a state initiative that supports aerospace-related educational programs. According to Long, the field provides opportunities for students interested in a variety of fields, even if they aren’t studying science or math, and event attendees ranged from computer engineering and physics majors to students studying psychology, English and graphic design.
“The NYSSS is a great opportunity for students, not just Watson students, who have an interest in aerospace,” Long said. “It’s not meant to be aerospace engineering, but the entire aerospace field: business, policies and other stuff. There’s just so many different parts of aerospace you can tap into.”
Ryan Condello, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, said the conference helped him learn more about aerospace opportunities.
“I decided to attend the symposium because I wanted to gain hands-on experience in aerospace work I can put on my resume,” Condello said. “I also recognize the importance of sustainability and the aerospace industry’s role in it, so I wanted to learn more about that. Overall, it was a great experience.”