Fields of engineering and politics intersect


Junior Devin Cross recently found himself switching roles — from student to teacher — as he joined other college students and educators from across the country on Capitol Hill to seek congressional support for NASA and space exploration.

Texas Congressman Pete Olsen, far left, discusses the future of space exploration with a group of college students, including Devin Cross, (in white shirt).

The whirlwind, three-day visit to Washington, D.C., in early June was made on behalf of Citizens for Space Exploration. Cross, an honors student majoring in aerospace systems engineering and mechanical engineering, and the others in the delegation met congressional leaders and staffers to advocate for NASA, noting the space program’s benefits to the economy with future scientific and technological discoveries. The students also emphasized that space exploration promotes STEM education and technical careers.

This was CSE’s 21st annual trip to Washington, D.C. The 78 members of the delegation met with 355 congressional offices. The Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership’s Aerospace Advisory Committee, Barrios Technology, Jacobs, the Florida Institute of Technology, and the Greater Cleveland Partnership provided sponsorship for the trip.

“Overall, I really enjoyed the experience,” says Cross, a 2008 Revere High School graduate. “I also gained a greater understanding of our nation’s political system and how important proper communication of the correct information can be.

Personally invested in message

“Space exploration is the embodiment of progress, and progression is essential to our survival as well as our gaining a better understanding of ourselves, our planet and the universe’s past, present, and future,” continues Cross, who hopes to work for NASA or the military after graduation, and possibly enter officer’s training to become a pilot in the reserves.

“Exploring new frontiers inspires, intrigues and entices all generations, particularly our youth, and leads to the development of new technology that is not only vital for space exploration, but can be applied to improve everyday living,” adds Cross. “Space exploration is a reminder of the promise that there is always something new to discover and is a cause that can help to unify a world divided.”