October 18, 2022

Sophie’s Pre-ASCEND Thoughts

I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to be at ASCEND this year as a student ambassador for Higher Orbits! While I hope to cross orbits with familiar faces again such as those I’ve met at SciTech and IAC, I am also eager to meet new ones and immerse myself in such a an incredible gathering of people whose career paths and story lines I have closely followed for inspiration. 

Really looking forward to get the chance to listen to the keynote speakers such as NASA’s deputy administrator, Pam Melroy,  SpaceX’s Gwynn Shotwell, and former NASA astronaut Ellen Ochoa ~ among the stellar line up! Hearing them speak and perhaps getting the opportunity to be exchanging ideas up close with these accomplished women would be such a tremendous inspirational boost especially now that I am in the thick of college applications and carving out my future plans after high school. 

As always, I am grateful for this tremendous  opportunity extended to students like me by Higher Orbits and AIAA. By giving me a seat at the table, I am excited to discuss perspectives and experiences that are helping shape the industry’s future through mentorship! As a student aspiring to be a lot of things, I can’t begin to stress how important mentorship plays as we shape our own journeys. Having said that, I am truly honored to be in a brilliant panel highlighting the significant contribution of mentors, like our very own Higher Orbits Space Mom, Michelle Lucas, who has inspired many of us to dream bigger, work smarter, and more importantly, inspire others! See you at ASCEND 2022

About the author

Sophia Crowder – is a Student Ambassador for Higher Orbits, a STEMflights aviation scholar, a Space Coast Scholar of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium/NASA-Wallops, & founder of a girl-empowering initiative, #ItGirls. Sophie aspires to inspire the next generation of STEMists, Innovators, and Space Explorers with her work and advocacy. Her biggest aspiration is to be an innovator for the space program as an engineer and test pilot! Aside from STEM, Sophie is also an avid musician (she plays the violin and guitar), a trained fencer and martial artist, and a multi-awarded essayist, speaker, and student leader. She is a staunch advocate for gender equity and serves as a board member for Être Girls, as well as founded an initiative (ItGirls) to help empower other girls to pursue non-traditional career pathways such as those in IT & STEM. She is 16 years old



Sophie Crowder


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