Saturday, May 15, 2021 8:45 a.m. – Noon EST


Schedule of Events:

8:45 a.m. - Event Check In 
9:00 a.m. - Opening Keynote 
9:15 a.m. - Breakout Panels (3 unique panels, approx. 45 minutes each) 
11:30 a.m. - Closing Keynote  

The Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan and FIRST in Michigan have joined forces to create a fun and engaging virtual event for students, parents and companies from Michigan’s aerospace industry.  Any and all are welcome to participate and it is free!

Professional women from NASA will open and share their journey that eventually led them to some of the most exciting careers in the universe…literally!  You will also have an opportunity to participate in engaging panel discussions moderated by women in executive leadership positions from companies in Michigan’s aerospace industry.  Their unique experiences will inspire and motivate those who attend to consider joining a FIRST robotics team and/or develop a path in STEM education and aerospace that can ultimately lead you to an exhilarating career too!

Hear from students who are either alum or currently in the FIRST robotics program.  If you thought varsity sports is exciting you haven’t seen anything until experiencing a FIRST competition!  Companies of all sizes sponsor and mentor students through one of the most memorable times in their education enabling them to become the future of Michigan’s aerospace industry.

Our state has one of the most vibrant aerospace clusters in the nation.  Nearly 1,000 companies support the global industry right here from Michigan and have an equally rewarding career waiting for when you are ready to enter the job market.  Many with internships, co-ops and permanent positions available now!

Register today to participate in this safe, fun, and sensational virtual event.

Rise up and explore the stars with us!

Keynote Speakers:

Huy Tran 

Director of Aeronautics, NASA Ames Research Center

At the NASA Ames Research Center Huy Tran manages research and technology development for advanced air traffic management tools, advanced aircraft design and analysis, and aviation safety technology. The facilities she works in include the world's largest wind tunnel, transonic wind tunnel, six-degree of freedom vertical motion simulator as well as airport surface simulation. Huy Tran’s research is focused in subsonic rotary wing, fixed wing aircraft, entry descend and landing for Mars and earth spacecraft, and vehicle systems analysis capabilities.

Janelle Wellons

Instrument Operations Systems Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Labaratory

Janelle Wellons graduated with her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is currently working at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an instrument operations systems engineer. She has won various team and individual awards in her time there, with the most recent being the JPL Bruce Murray Award for “inspiring students to engage in STEM, quenching their thirst for knowledge, and sparking a curiosity greater than the stars in the sky”.  

Her job consists of planning, generating, and validating the commands to operate scientific instruments in-flight, as well as monitoring their health and safety.  She also works to develop instrument ground data systems and concepts to be used in operations.Her current projects consist of the Earth observing Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols, Sentinel-6, and SWOT, the Moon observing Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and and the now ended Cassini mission to Saturn. Additionally, she serves as the President of the Black Excellence Strategic Team, one of JPL’s Employee Resource Groups.

When she isn’t working, you can find her scuba diving, cosplaying, traveling, playing video games, enjoying the outdoors, and doing outreach for communities traditionally underrepresented in STEM.

Event Panelists:

Nicole Smith

Chief of Exploration Systems, NASA John H. Glenn Research Center

Nicole Smith, PMP is the Chief of the Exploration Systems Office at NASA’s John H. Glenn Research  Center, where she manages a broad portfolio of projects supporting Orion, Space Launch System,  Human Landing Systems, Human Research Program, International Space Station, and Advanced  Exploration Systems. Previously, she was the project manager for Orion testing at Plum Brook Station,  completing environmental testing of the Artemis I spacecraft ahead of schedule, as well as mission critical evaluations of the Ascent Abort-2 and European Service Module test articles. She has experience in engineering, Mission Operations, and program management for the International Space Station and  Orion programs at both Johnson and Glenn. Read More

Nicole was also a Legislative Fellow, supporting the senior senator from Ohio as an aerospace and manufacturing expert. She has served on the board of directors for both Hard Hatted Women – Ohio (HHW-Ohio) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and  Astronautics (AIAA), and is a member of the Miami University College of Engineering and Computing  Advisory Council and Women’s Advisory Council. She earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics &  statistics and aeronautics from Miami University, and a master’s in aerospace engineering from the  University of Cincinnati. Nicole lives in Rocky River, Ohio, where she enjoys hiking, biking, renovating houses, reading, experiencing the world, and spending time with friends and family.

Stacy Paul

Aerospace Engineer & CEO, Array of Engineers

Stacy Paul, Aerospace Engineer and CEO of Array of Engineers has worked in the aerospace industry since 2000 on various projects ranging from the manned space program at NASA to modern commercial aircraft.  Stacy Paul grew up in a small town in Northern Michigan where she found her love of exploring, creativity and the night sky.  She graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1999 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering.  After graduating she worked for United Space Alliance in Houston, Texas on the Space Shuttle and Space Station program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC).  Stacy worked on Day of Launch activities in the Mission Control Room and when she was not planning for a Shuttle launch, worked on Shuttle enhancements. Read More

Missing Michigan, in 2005 Stacy moved back and then worked on numerous commercial aircraft projects including software development and verification activities along with project management as a contractor.  Following a dream Stacy Paul had for many years, creating a company to promote innovation, personal and professional growth, to help bring more high technology creative engineering jobs to Michigan, and to promote STEM for younger generations, in January of 2018, Stacy Paul started an engineering consulting/services company, Array of Engineers with these core goals in mind.

Array of Engineers has had the pleasure to work on multiple different space and commercial aerospace projects ranging from helping create the embedded software for a mission that would look for signs of life on the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa (JPL’s Europa Lander mission), to testing the embedded code used for the robotic arm in satellite refueling mission (NASA Goddard’s Restore-L/OSAM Mission) to helping model, create and test the software for the Human Landing System which will take astronauts (both male and female) to the lunar surface to creating testing automation systems that test the software on commercial aircraft more effectively, efficiently, and safely to finally developing the embedded hardware on many different aerospace projects.  Stacy Paul is a very strong supporter of promoting STEM, specifically for females.  She has mentored/coached a middle school FTC FIRST Robotics team in West Michigan for the past five years.

Molly Shelton

Power Systems Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Labaratory

Molly Shelton works in the Power and Sensor Systems group at Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a Power Systems Engineer.  She always knew that she loved math and science, but it wasn’t until she joined the FIRST robotics team at her high school that she realized how to put those interests to use.

She then went on to receive a BS in Physics with a double minor in Astronomy and Dance & Movement Studies from Allegheny College in 2016. Originally hired at JPL to support solar cell characterization for Europa Clipper, she has been lucky to work on both operations and flight development projects such as the recent Perseverance rover.

Molly is so grateful to be part of your panel, she is honored to be able to share her experience and to learn from everyone else present at this event.

Misty Davies

Research Computer Engineer, NASA Ames Research Center

For Misty Davies, it was all about making the world a better place. She grew up wanting to be a veterinarian, a writer, a mother, and a scientist. To fulfill some of those dreams, Dr. Davies says, “I am discovering how to make sure the programs we design at NASA and use for flight really do what they are supposed to do.” She earned an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Northern Arizona University. Thereafter, she completed Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in aerospace/astrospace engineering and mechanical engineering, leading Dr. Davies to NASA Ames as a research computer engineer. True to her childhood ambitions to be many things when she grew up, Dr. Davies’ path to NASA came only after holding positions as a Shakespearean actress, a waitress, and a veterinary technician. Along the way, she studied how albatrosses fly across the ocean without flapping their wings and why rubber is so stretchy. She is also a mother and learns something new from her two children every day. “All of this learning from so many diverse areas helps me think of new and different ways to approach the problems that NASA is solving in order to make the world a better place,” said Dr. Davies.

Meredith Ballard LaBeau

Director of Process Engineering & R&D Engineering, Calumet Electronics Corp.

Meredith Ballard LaBeau is the director of Process Engineering & R&D Engineering and on the strategic leadership team at Calumet Electronics, a leader in manufacturing high-performance printed circuit boards (PCBs) for industrial, medical, commercial, aerospace and defense applications. At Calumet Electronics, Meredith leads and manages technical engineering and research and development for process engineering and new product lines. She also is a member of two international standards committees: IPC and the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (NADCAP), playing a critical role in developing future standards and PCB manufacturing quality and criteria for aerospace, medical, defense and space applications. Read More

She holds a PhD from Michigan Technological University in Environmental Engineering focusing on the integrated assessment of anthropogenic, climate and policy induced changes on phosphorus export in the United States Laurentian Great Lakes watersheds. Meredith’s additional education credentials includes a masters’ degree from Michigan Technological University in environmental engineering for the performance and systems analysis of wastewater treatment systems and potable water in rural Bolivia. This research was conducted in three rural towns of Bolivia over a three-month immersive period. During her academic career, Meredith earned awards for S-STEM research, integrative graduate education and research traineeship, international sustainable development, 1st runner-up for best student paper at the International Association of Great Lakes Research and a summer Vespucci institute scholar. She currently holds 5 publications focused on watershed research, phosphorus and the Great Lakes. Prior to the advanced degrees, Meredith completed a bachelors’ degrees in biomedical engineering, also from Michigan Technological University.

Prior to her advanced education, Meredith LaBeau was an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteering for the Eastern Coal Regional Roundtable in Charleston, West Virginia.  This work consisted of developing and managing a consortium of watershed groups, state and federal agencies, conservation districts and other interested parties in coal and water restoration and conservation issues in Appalachia. Following this service, Meredith managed the North Fork Watershed Project in Thomas, West Virginia, orchestrating a major restoration project for the remediation of acid mine drainage.

Lyn Repath-Martos

Business Administration Manager for Project Systems Engineering & Formulation Section, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

Lyn Repath-Martos, business administration manager for the Project Systems Engineering & Formulation Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.  She is a section Business Administrator, manages a team of five staff.  Lyn is responsible for directing all aspects of a broad range of functions,  including finance, human resources, facilities, acquisitions, communications, safety, IT Security, property management & assets, EH&S compliance, documentation and day to day operations in support of strategic Section goals and objectives.  She ensures organizational, management, and employee compliance with Institutional policies and procedures, as well as Government regulations. Read More

Lyn also oversees programs & events, is the administer all facets of facilities, including forecasting space needs, monitoring of moves and construction, monitor work agreement tracking and reporting, generate financial reporting and batch files for quarterly management reviews,  generate workforce reports for quarterly workforce reviews, investigate financial variances with task managers, track mapping of tasks and personnel assignments during organizational changes, maintain institutional databases and electronic floor plans, track property and asset accountability, additional duty as Building Warden for laboratory and office safety, and additional duty as Building Coordinator for Facilities Emergencies.

Lyn is passionate about developing STEM opportunities for youth and young adults. Lyn serves as lead mentor for FIRST Robotics Competition team 589, CVHS Falkon Robotics, and over the past ten years, has worked closely with high school students to mentor more than 135 youth robotic league teams in the community.

Lisa Peterson

Vice President, Business Development and Marketing, Airspace Link, Inc.

Lisa Peterson is VP of Business Development and Marketing for Airspace Link.  Lisa and her team are responsible for cultivating relationships with state and local government agencies, as well as industry solution providers who rely on Airspace Link’s AirHub platform to ensure safe and compliant Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operations.  

Lisa is a results-oriented, innovative, global business leader with over 25 years of proven experience in developing markets for emerging and transformative technologies in both VC-backed start-up environments and large corporations, such as Sprint-Nextel (now T-Mobile), Neustar, Tata Communications, and Teralytics. Prior to joining Airspace Link, Lisa was Head of Business Development for AiRXOS, a startup acquired by GE Aviation, focused on intelligent avionics solutions for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and UAS Traffic Management (UTM). Read More

Lisa has significant experience in the areas of mobile communications, location-based services, transportation and logistics technology, and big data/analytics.  Throughout her career, Lisa and has been at the forefront in helping both public sector and enterprise organizations harness disruptive technologies to drive greater efficiencies and economic opportunities.  

Lisa holds a B.S. in Finance, with a concentration in MIS from the University of Maryland (UMD) and earned her M.B.A from UMD’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Lisa is an active member of WTS, (an organization focused on women in transportation), Women And Drones, and DroneResponders, a non-profit focused on the UAS for public safety. 

Kaylee Konwinski

Process Engineer, Barron Industries

Kaylee is Process Engineer at Barron Industries, a global manufacturer of metal components for the aerospace industry.  She manages the handling of products throughout the creation process from design to First Article Inspection. Her primary responsibility is working with customers to determine the production processes and requirements necessary to manufacture the part according to the customer’s needs. One of her current projects is the production of a pressure deck casting for the F18 Fighter Jet. The pressure deck is the piece beneath the windshield covering the controls. 

Kaylee obtained a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Saginaw Valley State University where her studies included courses in Computer Aided Design, Metalcasting and Manufacturing Processes. Kaylee was active in the Saginaw chapter of the American Foundry Society, serving as Secretary and Vice President. She is the recipient of both the American Foundry Society Senior Chapter Scholarship and the Detroit Windsor AFS Scholarship. She was also awarded the Saginaw Valley State University President’s Scholarship. 

Audra Thurston

Product Realization/ R&D Manager, Calumet Electronics Corp.

Originally from Ogden, Utah, Audra Thurston graduated from Michigan Technological University in 2018 with a BS in chemical engineering. After choosing Michigan Tech for the focus on manufacturing and hands on experience, Audra fell in love with the Keweenaw and decided to pursue local opportunities for internships and full-time career choices. Audra started as an intern at Calumet Electronics where she worked on qualifying new capabilities such as conductive via fill and microvia plating. During this internship, she discovered a passion for the electronics industry which offers ample opportunities to problem solve, innovate, and grow as companies like Calumet Electronics work to offer solutions to the technological and infrastructural challenges facing domestic PCB manufacturing. After graduating in 2018, she started full time at Calumet Electronics as a process engineer, integrating hands on problem solving with strong engineering discipline in “dirty” PCB manufacturing. Read More

Audra is now the product realization/R&D Manager at Calumet Electronics where she is actively working on bringing the next generation of technology to the domestic PCB market through advanced manufacturing techniques to meet the current and future demands of the aerospace and defense industries. 

In her free time, Audra enjoys any outdoor activity the Copper Country and Michigan has to offer including kayaking, biking, and camping. 

Ashlie Flegel

Deputy Project Manager of Hybrid Thermally Efficient Core (HyTEC) Project, NASA Glenn Research Center

Ms. Ashlie Flegel is the Deputy Project Manager of the Hybrid Thermally Efficient Core project in the Advanced Air Vehicle Program at NASA. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toledo (2007) and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Cleveland State University (2013). Ashlie has fourteen years of experience in the Turbomachinery field at NASA Glenn Research Center. She has held the roles of a Mechanical Test Engineer, Aerospace Research Engineer, and Project Manager. Her broad experience has led her from managing the operations of turbomachinery research facilities to specializing in turbine aerodynamic and heat transfer experimental research and leading NASA’s Engine Icing research. Currently, Ashlie is managing a project with the goal of developing small core engine technologies for the next generation of turbofan engines with improvements in efficiency, durability, performance, and hybridization. 

Angela Kimber

Mechanical Engineer in Product Design, Woodward, Inc. 

Angela Kimber is a Mechanical Engineer in Product Design at Woodward Inc., where she focuses on design and support of fuel nozzle injection systems for gas turbine combustion engines, as well as research and development of high temperature sealing materials. She received her bachelor’s in chemical engineering from the University of Washington and her master’s in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan. While at UM, she was a co-op intern at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards AFB, developing electrospray propulsion diagnostics. When she is not on the production floor or in the ‘work-from-home’  office, she can be found reading (science or historical fiction), riding her bike, or enjoying the outdoors with her fiancé and their three daughters. Angela is an active, professional member of the Society of Women Engineers, where she is passionate about mentoring and advocating for engineering students locally and across the country to support their scholarly and professional goals.

Amanda Acevedo

Owner, VEDO Systems 

With over 25 years of experience Amanda Acevedo has worked on development projects, served as a technical leader, and managed cross program integration efforts. Her experience spans from the Department of Energy/Argonne National Lab where she developed control system software for the ATLAS accelerator, to NASA/Johnson Space Center where she worked Space Shuttle, X38, AERCam, Orion, and Gateway programs, through her experience at an engineering firm where she developed software and led projects in the aerospace, energy and medical sectors. Now she leads her software engineering team as the owner of VEDO Systems, meeting the software needs of NASA and Oil and Gas customers.

Karen Cabell

Research Engineer, NASA Langley Research Center 

Karen Cabell is a research engineer in the Hypersonic Airbreathing Propulsion Branch at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. In this capacity she conducts primarily experimental research to develop technologies for supersonic combustion ramjet (Scramjet) engines. This entails planning, design and execution of high-speed wind tunnel tests of engine models to investigate ways to improve engine performance by methods such as improved fuel injection and fuel-air mixing. In her 30-year career with NASA, she has conducted or led numerous scramjet ground test projects for various NASA programs including the X-43A, or Hyper-X program, which culminated in two record-setting flights of un-manned scramjet powered vehicles at Mach 7 and Mach 10. Read More

Karen grew up on a farm in southern Indiana and graduated from Purdue University in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering. After joining NASA, she went on to earn a Master of Engineering degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia in 1996. She attributes the inspiration for her career choice to her childhood fascination with the Air Force jets that would fly over her home. She is the mother of two and enjoys mountain biking and gardening in her spare time.

Anna Giboney

Engineering Student Associate, Steelcase & Engineering Student, Calvin University

Anna Giboney is a Sophomore at Calvin University, studying engineering with a mechanical concentration and working as a collegiate STEM Ambassador. She is also employed as an Engineering Student Associate for Steelcase. Anna has competed on FLL and FRC teams in elementary and high school, making it to the FIRST World’s Competition twice. As a senior, she led her high school to winning its first ever Chairman’s Award in the 19 years of their participation in FIRST. When not focused on course work or building the STEM community, she enjoys playing rugby, going fishing, traveling abroad, and beating her male engineering friends in Mario Cart.

Kelsey Hite

Aeronautical Engineer Associate, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works & FIRST Mentor

Kelsey Hite is an Aeronautical Engineer Associate at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, California. Her primary role is the structural design of military aircraft, while her work has included various other projects in repairs, structural analysis, and materials research. Her profession is the realization of a passion found during her years first as a FIRST LEGO League team member and later as the driver and build captain of her FIRST Robotics Competition team. Kelsey is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2020. As a student, she was active on both M-Fly, the student airplane design team, and Groove, a non-traditional performance percussion group. She also completed internships with Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale and Palmdale, CA, and was a University Research Assistant testing satellite sensors. Kelsey has also volunteered as a mentor, coach, and tutor for several organizations, including FIRST, over the last decade.

Emily Grim

Aerospace Engineering Student, University of Michigan & FIRST Alumni

Emily Grim is an incoming senior at the University of Michigan studying aerospace engineering. Upon graduation, she intends to complete a master’s degree in a related field. Over the last year, she has worked as a co-op at May Mobility, developing and testing autonomous vehicle routes in cities across the country and internationally. On campus, Emily is involved with the aerospace engineering honor society, Sigma Gamma Tau, her local Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics chapter, and is an alumnus of the Women in Science and Engineering residence program. Read More

Emily’s passion for engineering began when she joined her local FIRST Lego League team in fourth grade. She continued with FIRST, earning the roles of driver and captain on her FRC team and becoming a Dean’s List Finalist at the world championship. She recognizes the value of FIRST in inspiring students and providing opportunities they otherwise may not have. As an alumnus, she continues to volunteer with the FTC program, formerly as an FTA and most recently as a Judge. Wherever her work takes her, she hopes to continue giving back to the program that gave her so much.

Emily hopes to work in the space sector after graduation. In her free time, you can find her binge-watching shows on Netflix, playing games with her roommates, or baking cookies!

Heather Seifert

Fuel Administrator, Kalitta Charters

Heather has been in the aviation industry since her flight training began in 1993. She got her Private Pilot’s license in 1994 while attending Baker College of Flint for Aviation. She transferred to Western Michigan University, initially enrolling in the flight school. She changed her major to Aviation Management, added a Business Minor, and graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree. She worked in the records department at a charter airline, then went on to charter sales at a 135 operator. She has worked at Kalitta Charters, LLC at Willow Run Airport (YIP) for the past 16 years. She started in flight following/charter sales and then moved into the Fuel Department where she has been for the last 10 years. She is in charge of purchasing fuel for the YIP-based aircraft as well as a sister company based in LCK (Rickenbacker). She negotiates pricing at frequently used airports and uploads prices into the operations software on a weekly basis. She loves being around airplanes even if she’s not flying them. Read More

When she’s not working, Heather is busy raising two girls, ages 10 and 8 with her husband of 13 years. As a family, they love to watch movies, ride bikes, and take their Jack Russell Terrier, Kaycee, for walks.

Thank you to our generous sponsors who have made this event possible!

Main Event & Keynote Sponsor:

Breakout Room & Panel Sponsors:

Student Attendance Sponsors:

General Event Sponsors: