University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou) SEDS Chapter Profile
Founded in 1839, Mizzou, short for Missouri and the common appellation for the university, was the first public university west of the Mississippi River and the first state university in Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Territory. As Missouri’s largest public research institution, it is also one of the only five universities nationwide with law, education, medicine, veterinary medicine, engineering and a nuclear research reactor on one campus.
Mizzou is an educational magnet for innovation and collaboration. The National Science Foundation has recognized Mizzou as one of the top 10 universities in the country for undergraduate research. Located in Columbia, Mizzou draws in sports fans as a member of the Southeastern Conference and boasts a beautiful campus, known for its iconic columns and botanical gardens. Affirming the state motto, Mizzou holds a dear place in the Show-Me state.
Mizzou Engineering: History and Tradition
Mizzou-SEDS is one of over 600 recognized student organizations at our university. Out of 35,000 students enrolled in the university, about 2,900 of them declared an engineering major. Mizzou Engineering has its traditions and rich history stemming from its roots, literally. The University of Missouri-Columbia was established under the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1962, which congress passed to provide land for colleges specializing in engineering and agriculture.
Each year Mizzou Engineering students continue the tradition of celebrating E-Week, the week dedicated to the patron of engineers, St. Patrick. In light of festivities, the tallest building on campus, Jesse Hall, is lit green.
History of MIzzou-SEDS
Mizzou-SEDS was founded in October of 2014 by Jonathan Jennings, the outgoing president and current University Student Rocketry Challenge (USRC) Project manager. Since its initiation, Mizzou-SEDS has participated in the Global Space Balloon Challenge (GSBC), University Student Rocketry Challenge, and the Satellites Around Mars Design Competition. We value the space community, at the local and national level. Our members have participated in STEM outreach with the First Robotics Lego League and March Sky, a three day local rocket camp to teach general rocket knowledge to local K-12 students. We also help our department recruit prospective engineering students through “Black and Gold” and “Meet Mizzou Days.” To extend our involvement with the national space community, our chapter has sent members to conferences including SEDS SpaceVision 2015, Satellite 2015, Gateway to Space, New Worlds, and participated in “On Capitol Hill” space advocacy groups March Storm, Citizens for Space Exploration, and Students on Capitol Hill.
Our first build team project was flying high altitude balloons for the Global Space Balloon Challenge. Our GSBC team launched two balloons; one reached 88,000 feet and another, 80,000 feet AGL. Attached with the first flight was our payload: forests of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The CNTs were grown in one of the research labs in the mechanical engineering department. The goal of this project was to observe changes to the specimens in a high altitude environment, which allowed us to simulate what would occur in a space elevator based on the laws of physics, though at this time this technology is infeasible.
Following nanoindentation of the specimen before and after the flight, we found that there indeed were changes to the samples’ material properties.
To participate in the SEDS USRC, our team built and launched a dual stage rocket. We had a successful launch as the upper stage of the rocket ignited and observed the deployment of the parachute. Unfortunately, we were unable to recover the upper stage containing the competition payload even after one of our members returned to the area the next day in an experimental aircraft to gain aerial reconnaissance.
Our final project was the Satellites Around Mars Design Competition. One of our graduate student members led this project, and with him, Mizzou-SEDS students completed a paper detailing the communications constellation devised by the design team. Furthermore, the graduate student is now working on this project as part of his graduate research. The conclusive analysis included launch cost, coverage, and bandwidth analysis programs.
Overall, Mizzou-SEDS encountered great success with the help of the space community and devotion members have shown to accomplishing projects. At SpaceVision 2015, Mizzou-SEDS was excited to receive two awards, for Best New Chapter and Best Technical Project.
Mission of Mizzou-SEDS
Our goal is to help Mizzou students to expand their horizons and gain the necessary experience to become a competitive candidate for employment in the space industry. We also wish to serve as advocates for space policy and a greater partnership between space companies and the Mizzou College of Engineering.
Present and Future Aspirations
Currently, Mizzou-SEDS is working on a recently funded rocket certification project with Tripoli as well as preparing for the USRC, GSBC, SSPI conferences, and Capitol Hill advocacy opportunities. From having no budget last year to being funded over seven and a half times what we spent last year on projects due to funding from the College of Engineering, Organization Resource Group, Student Services Commercial fund, and the Industrial Advisory Council, we have raised over $9000 with the chance of an additional $8000 during the Spring semester.
Our chapter holds weekly build team meetings as well as monthly general meetings each semester. The officers plan to coordinate guest speakers, socials, and multiple opportunities for outreach in our community. Last semester, Mizzou SEDS went to see The Martian together as one of the socials. This semester, we are planning a spring barbeque and are looking into hosting Yuri’s Night in Central Missouri.
We all are excited to embark on the journey of leading the next class of space enthusiasts, scientists, and engineers at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Ad Astra Per Aspera
Important Members of Note
New officers and faculty adviser for the 2016 spring semester are
Jonathan Jennings – University Student Rocketry Challenge (USRC) Project Manager
Alex Thornton – Chapter President, Mechanical Engineering major
Juhee Hyun – Chapter Vice President and COC representative, Mechanical Engineering major
Angel Matthews – Chapter Secretary and Social Media Coordinator, Pre-engineering
Stuart Belcke – Chapter Treasurer, Mechanical Engineering major
Dr. Craig Kluever – Faculty Adviser, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Mizzou SEDS Links
Mizzou SEDS articles
The topic of this post will be uncomfortable to most, and potentially painful to some. Be warned that I will be discussing workplace harassment, as I and others in my field have observed it come to light over the past several months. I sent a similar memo to my SEDS Board of Directors colleagues a short time ago, though I’ve expanded on some details here. This post is necessarily astronomy-focused, but the principles remain the same whether you draw rockets or build them.
Ut Prosim (That I may serve). It’s a motto and a way of life Virginia Tech students hold dear; a way of life The VT Chapter of SEDS is excitedly fulfilling through our own mission. Nestled in the New River Valley of rural southwest Virginia, Virginia Tech is home to over 31,000 students and, true to our motto, host to some of the biggest service events in the country like the largest collegiate Relay for Life, and the second largest “Big Event”. It’s a place the VT Chapter of SEDS is proud to call home.
Our history actually goes as far back as 2005 where Virginia Tech had a briefly active chapter that left few records before going dormant after that year. The next ‘founding’ of the chapter came in 2010 where alum Brian Keller and member Cameron Crowell restarted the group, enacting foundational goals like officially registering as a student organization, getting a faculty advisor, connecting with SEDS-USA, and shaping the first goals of the chapter. Unfortunately the chapter went dormant again briefly in 2012 before being brought back in its current form in 2013 by alum Aurelien Stamper. The chapter board that year made a conscious effort to stabilize the chapter’s future with a constitution and an unofficial ‘training-up’ of members officers saw as good replacements. From then on, the chapter has continued to develop – getting a new board each year who continues to affiliate with SEDS-USA, a new website and social media presence, and a stable attendance at SpaceVision.
At present, the Chapter is undergoing growth pains, relatively unknown on campus outside of engineering, and trying to find solid footing in consistently providing a great experience to our members and fellow students. At the same time, we’re successfully handling over $3,000 in our operations budget, updating our website and social media regularly, and holding bi-weekly meetings in between successful events like our recent trip to see ‘The Martian’ in theaters.
With our growth and current energy, the officers of the VT Chapter are building on the stability of previous years by putting together a notebook of ‘things that work’ that will include notes like meeting ideas for future officers, procedures for getting SpaceVision funding, and more to be passed down. We’re also in the midst of deciding on a project to get up, running/funded, and associated heavily with our chapter; a tough task among many other hands-on engineering groups at Virginia Tech. Collaboration with other groups aligning with our interests like Students on Capitol Hill, Astrobotics, Atmospheric Teaching Project and more has also been a point of focus current officers are honing in on. One collaboration in particular we’ll be working on this semester is with MusiTech to bring together people who love music and people who love space for Yuri’s Night.
Members of Note
Adam Barnes – Chapter President, Computer science major
Cameron Crowell – Founding member of 2010 VTSEDS, Chapter Vice President, Materials Science Masters student
Sapna Rao – Chapter Publicity Chair, Aerospace Engineering major
Tanner Dykes – Chapter Treasurer, University Studies major
Anselm Wiercioch – Chapter Student Engineer’s Council Representative, Aerospace Engineering major
Andrew Newman – SED-USA chair, former Chapter President, Computer Science major
Paul Hesson – Chapter Project Chair, Aerospace Engineering major
Dr. Kevin Shinpaugh – Faculty Advisor, Director of IT Services for Biocomplexity Institute at VT
In the next year or two, the chapter would like to really ‘make good’ on that Ut Prosim motto and expand activities to include outreach to local K-12 students. This effort will likely focus at first on things like the annual Virginia Science Festival in the Fall and Kid’s Tech University in the Spring and expand to sessions at local schools. Additionally, VTSEDS hopes to develop and increase the profile of Yuri’s Night, making it a topic of campus banter every year around April similar to how another club hosts a popular ‘Midwinters Dance’ in February. The chapter board hopes to also see their efforts to develop a hands-on project that can persist and compete with other engineering clubs, as well as efforts to bring in students from more diverse majors, pay off and continue to grow with subsequent boards.