This past summer marked a significant milestone for NASA when the New Horizons spacecraft finally reached Pluto after more than nine years and more than three billion miles traveled. I couldn’t help but reflect back on my great fortune to have been involved in fueling the spacecraft and playing a part in such an historic mission for the space program.
However, I never would have had this opportunity if it weren’t for the wonderful people and programs at Clemson. After my freshman year, I joined the Cooperative Education Program and with the help of the advisers I became the first chemical engineering co-op from Clemson to work for NASA at Kennedy Space Center. It was during my time as a co-op student that I participated in the fueling of the New Horizons spacecraft.
The co-op program not only enabled me to further develop my skills as an engineer, but also allowed me to take part in these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. This past year I supported the testing of MORPHEUS, an autonomous lander that was used to develop the technology that will enable us to land on Mars one day. And as you can see, I proudly wear my Clemson hat!
Melissa Clevenger Duffy graduated in 2008 with a B.S. in chemical engineering with a minor in business. She lives in Orlando and works for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center. She is also currently working on her master’s degree in industrial engineering.