The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

A trip to NASA

President Kelly tours NASA and meets CNU alumni
President Kelly takes a selfie with Nasa staff in the NACA and NASA Hall of Honor taken by Alex Noth

On a tour of NASA Langley Research Center that included stops at a wind tunnel, a hangar featuring multiple planes, and a stop in a lab working on autonomous assembly in space for Mars, it all still led back to Christopher Newport University for President Kelly.

“The number of captains that work here, the number of captains for life that have been here for years that are in senior executive positions, and all throughout the organization,” said Kelly about some of what he had learned and wanting to be able to use these connections with the alumni and the opportunities at NASA for students.

On the tour throughout parts of NASA Langley Research Center, Kelly and CNU were accompanied by Lisa Ziehmann, Acting Deputy Center Director, and Dr. Kanama Bivins, Acting Associate Director of the NASA Langley Research Center. 

The Aircraft Hanger, which featured at least 5 planes, all of different sizes and purposes was one of the places shown to Kelly and the rest of the CNU representatives. Topics that were discussed included hybrid engines, science research using the planes, and partnering with other forces to run tests.

Story continues below advertisement

“We focus on aeronautics, space exploration, and science, and have a big emphasis on STEM engagement,” said CNU Alumni and Deputy Director for Intelligence Dr. Jennifer Kibler who presented to the group.

Kibler is an example of a student using the community surrounding CNU. She did her capstone project at NASA Langley Research Center before coming back to work for them as a researcher and now as Deputy Director for Intelligence within the NASA Langley Research Directorate.

“I think it is great to open the aperture of what we have to offer here and potential for partnership and collaboration,” said Kibler.

The Aircraft Hanger was Kelly’s favorite part, mentioning the connection it had with Apollo 13 and how much he loved that.

“[When] looking up, where the lunar module the LEM would do, its training and practice. I’m a big Apollo 13 fan,” said Kelly. “Being in the place where the mercury seven astronauts and our Apollo astronauts were practicing and training. That was pretty special to me.”

Another highlight of the tour might have been visiting the Wind Tunnel. The Wind Tunnel is 14 by 22 feet and “has tested everything from rockets to fighter jets to race cars.” Kelly and the group were able to walk down and witness the fans and the enormity of the tunnel.

Lisa Brown the employee who presented to the group shared her excitement of being able to present to members of CNU. She expressed that interacting with educators who are involved in the process of getting the next generation excited about the things they do at NASA.

The first place that NASA showed Kelly and the rest of CNU was the James H. Starnes Structures and Materials Laboratory, one of NASA’s oldest buildings. Here the group saw work on autonomous technology that would construct infrastructure on Mars. Dr. Julia Cline showed off a couple of the projects they were working on, which included building a tall lunar tower that looks at power generation on the surface of the moon as well as a robotic crane that would offload payloads from the lunar lander.

Cline mentioned that they are always looking for interest in having interns, mentioning that they have a pipeline of interns who come in. “We put our interns that come in every summer on real projects,” said Cline

“I always love when we get to do tours. just seeing everyone’s faces when they walk into the laboratory and they see the backdrop and they see the projects that are happening. Their faces always light up. And they’re just so excited to hear the work that we’re doing,” said Cline. 

President Kelly started his day by meeting with CNU alumni who work at NASA. There Kelly talked about the state of CNU, the bonds and relationships he sees that get built between students and professors, and fielded questions from Alum. He ended his time talking with the alumni by telling them to always come back, to share their stories, and to come to homecoming. 

“It was cool to hear that he is continuing tradition, to see him engaging with students, it’s a unique thing [at CNU] that is cool to see keep going,” said 2009 CNU alumni Ryan Bradley.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Captain's Log

Your donation will support the student journalists of Christopher Newport University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Captain's Log

Comments (0)

All The Captain's Log Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *