Nikhita’s AIAA SciTech 2024 Experience

I recently attended the AIAA SciTech 2024 Conference, an annual event that provides a platform for the presentation and discussion of the latest technological advancements in aerospace. It was a surreal and amazing experience to be able to network with professionals in the industry and experts who are conducting groundbreaking research, all while still being a high school student. I am so grateful to Michelle Lucas and Higher Orbits for making this incredibly valuable opportunity possible.

It was an honor to be able to share the stage with the other five Higher Orbits students in the convention Exhibition Hall. I was able to talk a little about my STEM story and highlight the incredible influence that Higher Orbits has had on shaping my path. It truly is an organization like no other, encouraging the cultivation of vital skills like collaboration and innovation in an exciting STEM context. I also loved listening to Rachel, Zach, Autumn, Yuri, and Leia share their unique and inspiring journeys.

In addition to speaking on the Higher Orbits panel, I had a chance to explore the convention. I was able to have conversations with representatives from various companies like Lockheed Martin, JPL, and Barrios and learn about the opportunities they offer for college students. I look forward to applying for internship positions next year! I also attended a talk about upcoming space missions, which featured speakers from NASA, JAXA, and more. Learning about the ambitious plans for the future heightened my enthusiasm for joining the industry and contributing to the exploration of the cosmos.

The opportunity to interact with such a dynamic and accomplished community at the AIAA SciTech Conference was transformative. I want to express my deepest appreciation once again to Michelle and Higher Orbits for not only making this experience possible but also for their unwavering support and encouragement. This convention was a pivotal step in my journey. I look forward to the prospect of attending more conferences in the future, continuing to grow, learn, and contribute to the exciting world of aerospace.

Written by Nikhita Penugonda


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