Student Lightning Talks

Date: Sunday, Nov. 2nd
Time: 9:30 AM -12:30 PM
Location: Conference Room A

Attendees will have the opportunity to speak on a topic of their choosing, so long as the topic is relevant to SpaceVision 2014. Talks can include anything from presentation of research and demonstrations of exciting technology to space-themed slam poetry and original musical works. Talks should be no longer than 15 minutes, with an additional 5 minutes allowed for questions. If you are interested in speaking, please prepare either:

Email the submission to spacevision@seds.org. Videos can be uploaded to youtube or other hosting; the email should contain a link to an externally hosted video.

Submissions will be evaluated by SpaceVision 2014 Staff for relevance. University and non-traditional students (i.e. Thiel Fellows) are encouraged to participate.

Student Speakers


Joshua Jenkins

Joshua Jenkins. Launching Lemons into Space.

Joshua Jenkins is a junior at Virginia Tech majoring in Aerospace Engineering with prospective minors in physics, astronomy, and mathematics. Joshua has been fascinated with space since a first grade project was assigned to him on Sally Ride. He quickly realized that space wouldn't just be a passion, it would become a lifestyle. Today, Josh actively pursues his passion by volunteering for the Space Frontier Foundation. As an Advocate and member of their policy team, Josh believes that the 21st century engineer will have to be well versed in leadership, business, and politics. He actively pursues and develops these ideals through a NewSpace oriented mindset and his own organization Stem Students on Capitol Hill. Josh plans to pursue a PhD focusing on the development of GNC for rockets to increase reusability and promote cheap access to space. Josh's talk will be a modified version of a talk he gave at TEDx Virginia Tech titled "Launching Lemons Into Space: Redefining the Potential for Innovation". The goal of this talk is to inspire others to not only understand the role that space exploration will play in the upcoming years, but to also help everyone realize that you don't have to be an astronaut to make a difference. The space industry is plagued with many problems that will require a diverse workforce to solve and Josh believes that everyone in the world has something to contribute. Like many space advocates, Josh's end goal is the expansion of the human civilization into space. He believes that settlement is the only way to ensure mankind's longevity and is willing to do whatever it takes for there to be footprints on Mars and other worlds beyond.


Alan Smith

Alan Smith.

Alan is a current Ph.D. student with the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research (CCAR) at the University of Colorado Boulder. His research focus explores the use of novel satellite navigation techniques for low-cost commercial applications. Alan is a Chateaubriand Fellow, AFRL UNP-7 participant, and entrepreneur looking to contribute to the increasing accessibility of space through educational and technical ingenuity.​


Aaron Olson

Aaron Olson. Demonstration of Lunar 3He Extraction for Future Fusion Power.

Aaron Olson earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2012, has recently completed his M.S. in Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics in May of 2014 and is pursuing a Ph.D. in this same field. During his undergraduate education, He studied abroad at the Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace (ISAE) in Toulouse, France for a semester, had internships at both NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA Langley Research Center, and was part of the 2011 winning NASA Exploration Habitat competition student team that built an expandable module for NASA’S Deep Space Habitat Prototype. Aaron was the president of the UW-Madison chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, participated in NASA’s Undergraduate Microgravity Research program and was also a crew member of the 110th Mars Desert Research Station Crew.

Aaron is the 2013-2014 Dr. Laurel Salton Clark Memorial Graduate Fellow, as named by the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium and has recently been named as a 2014-2015 NASA Space Technology Research Fellow. Under Dr. Gerald Kulcinski, Aaron is researching the acquisition of lunar resources such as helium-3 for future fusion plants and other volatiles for in-space life support and propellant.


Patrick Gray

Patrick Gray.

Patrick is currently a software engineer at Moon Express in Mountain View, California where he works on the ground data systems and on-board software for the company's lunar lander. A Morehead-Cain Scholar and a NC Space Grant Undergraduate Research Scholar he is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill having studied Computer Science and Business. Patrick is excited by the potential for commercial endeavors to help rapidly expand our presence in space and achieve the goal of becoming a multi-planetary species. Before working at Moon Express he founded the UNC chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) and currently runs the Alumni Association for SEDS-USA. After working in Argentina and Brazil, studying in Singapore, and traveling many places in between, he has a great deal of interest in the space industry, technology and entrepreneurship in all parts of the world.