ECE and ME Seniors Bring 2015 National SpaceVision Conference to BU

in NEWS, Students

By Rebecca Jahnke (COM ‘17) and Bhumika Salwan (Questrom ’16)

BU Engineering seniors Mehmet Akbulut (ME 16) and Dean De Carli (EE 16) served as the SEDS SpaceVision 2015 Chair of Operations and Chair of Programming. Photo by Bhumika Salwan (Questrom 16).
BU Engineering seniors Dean De Carli (EE ‘16) and Mehmet Akbulut (ME ’16) served as the SEDS SpaceVision 2015 Chair of Programming and Chair of Operations. Photo by Bhumika Salwan (Questrom ’16).

 Boston University hosted over 300 attendees November 12-15th at the Metcalf Trustee Center for the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) SpaceVision 2015 Conference. The  conference is entirely student-run and space-centric. It bills itself as connecting present with future space leaders and is part of international nonprofit SEDS’ larger mission to empower students through the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels to impact space exploration.

BU Engineering seniors Mehmet Akbulut (ME ‘16) and Dean De Carli (EE ‘16) spearheaded conference planning. Both Akbulut and De Carli, who served as the Chair of Operations and Chair of Programming, respectively, had attended the 2013 Arizona SpaceVision Conference. After pondering why the conference had yet to be hosted in a major city like Boston, the pair submitted a bid to post the conference at Boston University and successfully secured the 2015 venue nomination.

Akbulut oversaw logistics, registration, personnel, and general operations of the event while De Carli took charge of programming and speakers. Together, they developed an agenda that featured industry speakers, panels, a business plan competition, and a first-ever peer mentor session. By bringing students together with leaders in the aerospace community, the conference offered attendees invaluable networking opportunities and the chance to view the future of space development through an interdisciplinary lens.

The SEDS,  SpaceVision, Rocket Propulsion, and small satellite efforts at BU are all truly interdisciplinary and interdepartmental. This creates a forum for students in different concentrations to work as a team and further learning in fields such as space research. Both Akbulut and De Carli attribute their success running SpaceVision 2015 to the education and leadership opportunities they’ve had in the College of Engineering and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).

Six space professionals offered career advice. From left to right, Chair of SEDS-USA Hannah Kerner (moderator), Executive Director of Society of Satellite Professionals International Robert Bell, Advanced Propulsion Manufacturing & Integration Engineer at Virgin Galactic Kevin Zagorski, Avionics Engineer at Firefly Space Systems Drew Kelley, Propulsion Components Engineer at United Launch Alliance Matt Cannella, and Director of Lunar Programs at Way Paver Labs Patrick Gray. Photo by Bhumika Salwan (Questrom ’16).

“ECE has prepared me to help with SpaceVision by giving me the opportunity to lead in student groups such as Boston University Rocket Proposal Group. It’s given me the leadership skills that I have been able to translate into a much larger scale such as being Chair of this conference,” De Carli said.

The College of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Center for Space Physics jointly sponsored the conference. Outside sponsors included Arizona State University School of Earth and Science Exploration and industry sponsors like Lockheed Martin.