Former Pre-Engineering Student Launches NASA Career

Former Pre-Engineering Student Launches NASA Career

Lucas Kinion began preparing for his successful launch back in middle school, when his eighth grade class attended a presentation about careers in engineering. He still credits this presentation for his path to a desired position with NASA, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the United States government agency responsible for the space program as well as for aeronautics and aerospace research.

“Tulsa Tech visited my school when I was in eighth grade, and that’s when I discovered that I could begin studying pre-engineering the following year, as a freshman in high school,” Kinion said. “I was always good at the math and science stuff, and I was interested in gaming and electronics, so I thought that engineering might be a good fit for me.”

Tulsa Tech’s Pre-Engineering program challenges students to create solutions for real-world problems through engaging and hands-on curriculum. Students experience how engineers apply the theories and principles of science and mathematics, to research and develop economical solutions to technical problems, as they study engineering principles, design, digital electronics, and computer integrated manufacturing.

“The pre-engineering program is where I started, and it’s a big reason why I’m where I am today,” Kinion said. “I began as a freshman in high school, continued as a sophomore, and I guess you could say I really never looked back from there. The program was fun, very challenging, and it prepared me for next level, which was studying electrical engineering at OSU.”

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Shafer

This 2010 Union High School graduate was awarded a scholarship from Oklahoma State University based on ACT scores, where he has spent the last four years studying electrical engineering. Although Kinion won’t officially graduate with his degree from the university until May 2015, thanks to his hard work, and some great planning, he already has a good idea what lays just beyond the horizon.

“During my sophomore year at OSU, I attended a career fair that’s offered every fall semester,” Kinion said. “A lot of companies visit with students, and I noticed a NASA Johnson Space Center Co-op Program booth there. I kind of figured that it was NASA, you know, and that’s like everybody’s dream job, at least mine when I was growing up, so I thought I’d give it a chance, and I gave them my resume.”

The agency contacted Kinion a few days later to schedule an interview, and two months later, called back to inform of him of acceptance into the program.

“The NASA Co-Op Program included working at the Johnson Space Center for two semesters, in addition to one summer, but not consecutively,” Kinion said. “So I would work there, go to school for a semester, just back and forth. It was great because it just worked out that I had an extra summer, and I actually got the opportunity to work there for two summers.”

The former Tulsa Tech Pre-Engineering student and soon to be OSU alum must have made a great impression, because this past August, NASA offered Kinion a position and an opportunity to finally launch his aerospace engineering career.

“I’ll be working in the Human Interfaces branch,” Kinion said. “It’s part of the avionics systems division and involves working with audio systems, communications, including various displays and controls for a variety of aerospace vehicles.”

While Kinion is definitely excited about his future, and the path that just may take him to infinity and beyond, he’ll never forget where his successful journey began.

“I’ll always remember the hands-on part of our pre-engineering classes,” Kinion said. “We were always designing, and building, getting a chance to use the engineering principles we’d learned. It was really fun and a great start.”

If you’re currently looking for a challenging new career for both high school and adult students, quality corporate training, or exciting evening and weekend classes, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, please call 918-828-5000 or visit us online at tulsatech.edu.

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