This Summer, Voyager had the pleasure of participating as a host company for the Brooke Owens Fellowship. We were joined by Amanda Desmond, a junior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a double major in Economics and Astronomy (Space Science). As Amanda’s summer at Voyager wraps up, we asked her to reflect on her summer and the experience while interning at Voyager.
Q: What drew you to the Brooke Owens Fellowship and Voyager?
A: I have always had a passion for learning about space, but I never saw myself pursuing a purely technical career in astronomy or engineering. I had almost written the career path off entirely when I started doing some networking with people in the industry. To my surprise, everyone I talked to said there is in fact place in the space industry for all kinds of backgrounds. It was one person in particular that I spoke to who recommended I apply for the Brooke Owens Fellowship because they have the ability to forward all kinds of careers in space.
Q: What did you expect coming into this summer?
A: To be honest, I had no clue what to expect. This is my first experience working in space, and while I had high hopes about what I would learn, this summer has been more than I could imagine.
Q: What type of projects did you work on and help support during your summer?
A: This summer I was fortunate enough to get a feel for a wide variety of teams and projects. My favorite has been the working with Paul Schauer and learning about how he thinks about strategy – I even got to attend a Valley Tech Systems strategy session in Reno, Nevada. I also really enjoyed working with the Starlab team and watching how to think about a commercial project that’s never been done before. Finally, the two other interns and I worked on a joint presentation about what we see for Voyager in 2030. For the project we interviewed Voyager employees and advisors and compiled our own interpretation on what the future can hold. This was a fun opportunity to dive into Voyager strategy and operations while forecasting space industry changes.
Q: What are some lessons you learn about working in the space industry? Did anything surprise you?
A: I learned that I will never stop learning because space is always changing, so asking a lot of questions is really important. I also I learned that in some ways, like in building a strategy or financing big projects, space is just like every other industry, but in so many other ways it is completely different. Finally, I learned that because the industry is growing and developing there won’t always be answers to questions and because of that there is a lot of room to make your own solutions and opinions.
Q: What advice to you have for future interns and fellows getting into the space industry?
A: Everyone should know that there is so much room in the space industry for people with all kinds of backgrounds and interests. Space is challenging and always changing so there needs to be more diversity of people and backgrounds. Even if you just think space is cool and want to learn more, it’s never too late to get involved.
Q: What do you see as your next step? What would you like to explore?
A: I am completely hooked on space stations and building infrastructure in space. I want my generation to work towards expanding humanity to planets and space stations and I want to learn about how we get there as society, especially from an economic standpoint.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
A: I am so grateful for the fellowship program that got me here, I feel like my career has been launched in the right direction.