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From classrooms through careers, more young professionals are gravitating to space, and it’s not just the aerospace, aeronautics and astronautics types. ASCEND’s mission to “build on-ramps to space for everyone” invites anyone who loves space — especially early- and mid-career professionals — to find their place in the off-world future workforce.

While virtually all of the event’s program sessions touch on some aspect of building, working, and living in space, the six-day hybrid schedule features nearly 30 workforce-focused Meta, Technical and Collaborative sessions to heighten awareness of space-related jobs and create more opportunities for everyone to succeed in space. 

In addition to these program conversations, the agenda features an in-person networking reception in Las Vegas on Sunday evening, 14 November, for young professionals and members of the ASCEND Guiding Coalition.

Given the prospective large-scale growth of STEAM careers relating to space, it’s no wonder ASCEND is an ideal opportunity for early and mid-career professionals, according to Melissa Sampson, a Strategic Development and Advanced Technology leader at Ball Aerospace, and a member of the ASCEND Guiding Coalition representing the mid-career cohort. On Monday, 15 November, Sampson will lead the Meta session, “Future of Space: GenX, GenY, and Millennials.”

“Mid- and early-career professionals are the future of space,” she explains. “These are the people who will create, lead, and execute the visions and programs ASCEND is discussing. Their long-term visioning will drive humanity’s future and shape how we approach our global, beyond-Earth aspirations.”

Alexis Harroun, a Ph.D. student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University and the Guiding Coalition advocate for early career professionals, agrees. On Tuesday, 9 November, she will moderate a panel discussion: “The New Paradigm: Navigating the Post-Pandemic Aerospace Workforce.”

“This event looks to the future, for humanity now and going forward. The voices of the upcoming generations, who will lead us there, are critical to the dialog,” she says.

In particular, Sampson and Harroun see ASCEND as an opportunity to connect current and future generations of space leaders.

“Current executives want to hear from early and mid-career professionals, and there will be several opportunities such as the Sunday networking reception and the reverse speed mentoring/roundtables for those conversations,” says Harroun.

ASCEND Future Workforce Sessions
META Sessions

Tuesday, 9 November, 1030–1130 hrs PT
The New Paradigm: Navigating the Post-Pandemic Aerospace Workforce

Monday, 15 November, 1030–1130 hrs PT
Future of Space: GenX, GenY, and Millennials

Technical and Collaborative Sessions

Monday, 8 November, 0915–1015 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Global Export Compliance for Space

Monday, 8 November, 0915–1015 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
More than a Launch: Supporting Student Space Research from Start to Finish

Monday, 8 November, 1030–1130 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Astronaut Al Travels to the Moon
CLB.STEAM-02

Monday, 8 November, 1030–1200 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Space for Everyone: Onboarding New Spacefaring Nations

Monday, 8 November, 1145–1245 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Space and Earth Farms for Elementary Students

Tuesday, 9 November, 0915–1015 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Supporting the Next Generation of Spaceflight Professionals: Flight Campaigns and Professional Advancement

Tuesday, 9 November, 0915–1015 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Talk to an Astronaut in Space! STEAM Education via Amateur Radio on the International Space Station

Tuesday, 9 November, 1145–1245 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Martian Greenhouse Collaboration

Wednesday, 10 November, 0915–1045 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Innovative Approaches to K-12 STEAM Education & Outreach

Wednesday, 10 November, 0915–1045 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Rising Leaders in Aerospace (RLA): Leveraging Your Strengths in the Workplace Workshop

Wednesday, 10 November, 1115–1245 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Introduction to Classroom Cubesat Experiments

Monday, 15 November, 1300–1400 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Gamification of Online STEAM Education for the Digital Native Brain

Monday, 15 November, 1300–1430 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
The Future of Space Governance: A Serious Game

Monday, 15 November, 1415–1515 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Authentic Space Science Exploration: How to Implement the Unifying Language

Monday, 15 November, 1415–1515 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Inspiring the Next Generation of STEMists & Explorers to Higher Orbits

Monday, 15 November, 1530–1630 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Developing Interdisciplinary Skills Through Undergraduate Space Research for the Future of the Aerospace Workforce

Tuesday, 16 November, 1030–1130 hrs PT
Technical Session
Relevance, Efficiency and Costs of Aerothermal Ground Test Facilities

Tuesday, 16 November, 1030–1130 hrs PT
Meta
Tribal Colleges and Universities with MILO Space Sciences Institute

Tuesday, 16 November, 1300–14:00 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Build Your Brand, Build You

Tuesday, 16 November, 1530–1630 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Inspiring the Next Generation of Technical Leaders

Wednesday, 17 November, 1300–1430 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Tackling Tokenism in Aerospace Institutions

Wednesday, 17 November, 1300–1400 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Trusted Sharing of Space Cybersecurity Knowledge: Aerospace Village

Wednesday, 17 November, 1415–1515 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Rising Leaders in Aerospace (RLA): Next Generation Space Policy

Wednesday, 17 November, 1445–1515 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Redefining Aerospace – Cultivating Diversity in a New Space Era

Wednesday, 17 November, 1530–1630 hrs PT
Collaborative Session
Mentoring the Next Generation Tips and Tricks

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