Raenaurd Turpin, executive chief engineer of Boeing Space Systems, spoke to about 50 aerospace engineering students at the Bob and Betty Beyster Building on Friday afternoon. 

Turpin spoke to students about what a career in the aerospace engineering field looks like, and highlighted current Boeing projects.

George F. Halow, visiting professor of aerospace engineering, set up the event as part of a program in which a guest lecturer visits the classroom every Friday. In addition to his own students, the event was also open to Davis Aerospace Technical High School students interested in gaining exposure to the field.

Turpin told students there is no one path to becoming an aerospace engineer, noting that he had previously been a mechanical engineer before his work at Boeing.

He also discussed the projects Boeing Space Systems is currently working on. According to Turpin, some of these projects are in coordination with NASA, adding the two organizations hope to have astronauts on the moon by 2024. 

“Now Boeing is taking a unique approach,” Turpin said. “Because we build the Space Launch System, we’re building so much capability into our rockets, and we’re taking five steps to learn (from our past flights) so we can shorten our path … We want to be (on the moon in) about 2024.” 

Turpin also discussed the company’s mission of closing the global digital divide, noting the disparities between developed and developing countries regarding their access to computing and information resources such as the internet.

Turpin noted Boeing is making efforts to bring this kind of technology and other digital opportunities to countries that may need them.

“It’s not just about communicating across transoceanic distances, but it’s about bringing the world together and closing the digital divide,” Turpin shared. 

Turpin said he feels passionate about Boeing’s humanitarian work because it helps people find water supplies and other life-saving resources.

“Having a solar-powered terminal in regions where the internet has never existed has completely changed the dynamic of the region,” Turpin said. “Things like where to find water, and other humanitarian needs, situations where you lost communication or infrastructure, natural disasters like in Puerto Rico. Whenever this happens around the world, this class of satellites is able to be repositioned to support services for those who need them.” 

Layla Allen, a student at Davis Aerospace Technical High School, said she enjoyed learning about the company from an actual employee who works there. 

“It was very informational,” Allen said. “I liked having someone from the actual company come and give us information because it made it seem more factual rather than somebody just interpreting something straight from the internet.”

Similarly, Engineering sophomore Edward Tang said he felt the lecture was insightful and gave him information about the future of a field he would like to pursue. 

“He definitely offered insight on the industry as an industry expert that’s been there for 20 years, challenges that you might face in a pretty homogenized engineering field such as aerospace and also pretty good insight on where the future of aerospace engineering, as a whole, is heading towards, which is the industry that I will be working in, in the next 20 years,” Tang said. 

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