Aerospace Panel Bios

These speakers will be part of our Aerospace Panel on Thursday, June 17th at 6:30 PM CDT.

Photo of Sam Ward

Sam Ward
I’m currently a Systems Engineer at Northrop Grumman Missions Systems in Baltimore, MD. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Optical Engineering with a minor in Electrical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and as of May 2021 (finally!) a master’s degree in Space Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. I’ve always been absolutely fascinated by all things space-related and knew from an early age that whatever I made my career doing, it had to involve space exploration somehow. Since finishing undergrad, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work on cameras for live-streaming ULA rocket launches, radios for the International Space Station and the new Mars Rover, a robotic payload for repairing and refueling satellites in geosynchronous orbit, and a lot of other amazing pieces of technology. I even got to take a tour of the Jet Propulsion Lab and visit the MarsYard where they test out the rover prototypes! My expertise is solidly in the imaging and electrical communications department, but the last few years as a systems engineer have really broadened the number of hats I wear on the day-to-day and it’s been an exciting challenge.

Photo of Christie Hasbrouck

Christie Hasbrouck
I am a Graduate Research Assistant/Ph.D. Candidate at Penn State studying Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, but my background is mostly in Mechanical and Metallurgical Engineering. I received a BS in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Metallurgical Engineering from Trine University, a MS in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Thermal/Fluid Systems from Colorado School of Mines, and a MS in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering with a focus in Metallurgy and Manufacturing from Penn State. I’ve been around STEM my whole life; I grew up in my father’s industrial machine shop, and around Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s and Purdue University’s engineering programs for local students. My interest in aerospace grew after attending a local air show, and I confirmed my interest in pursuing engineering by taking three Project Lead the Way courses in high school. My first internship was at GE Aviation, where I found myself interested in the manufacturing processes for jet engines. Most of my professional experience is related to materials and manufacturing, particularly steels used in aerospace applications. My Ph.D. research is focused particularly on high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steels, and how we cast, heat treat, property test, and characterize them for optimal properties in aerospace applications. With that, I do a bit of thermal/fluid and solidification modeling too. I enjoy aerospace as a hobby outside of work as well; I am working on my pilot’s license and enjoy building model rockets and airplanes.

Photo of Carlos Gonzalez

Carlos Gonzalez
Hello! I am an Electrical Engineer at Blue Origin, currently working on the New Shepard program. I graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. I think I’ve always had an engineer’s mindset. Taking things apart, trying to figure out how it worked, and trying to improve the design was my entire childhood and luckily now my career! I don’t think there is anything more fun than running into a difficult challenge and forcing yourself to come up with a solution. Engineering just comes with more constraints! For even more motivation, the new technology that the amazing people in STEM fields help create is also used as stepping-stones for future engineers and STEM students to learn from and further innovate. Technology is constantly building off of each other’s discoveries and it’s what continues to drive our grasp and understanding of the Universe! I have a wide range of experience designing fun and unique solutions for so many different problems. I started working on NASA projects in school and worked with the Radio Science Systems Group at NASA JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). This was such a fun experience working on science experiments between the DSN (Deep Space Network) Antennas, some of the biggest antennas on Earth, and spacecraft orbiting planets! I soon decided I wanted a more direct impact with my engineering designs and I moved to Minnesota to start working in the medical device industry. I was lucky enough to help design over 15 different medical devices including 3D ear scanners, continuous blood glucose monitoring wearable, negative pressure wound therapy system, and so many more unique ideas! After a couple more years of designing medical devices, I have now ended up closer to home in the Pacific Northwest Area and back in Aerospace! I am now currently working on the New Shepard program at Blue Origin. This is Blue Origin’s reusable suborbital rocket program, designed to take astronauts and payloads just past the border between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space, the Karman Line. The goal is to make it so that anyone can buy a ticket on board and get a front row seat to view Earth and Space like never before!