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WSU Engineering Alumna Works on Spacesuits for NASA

russ engineering center

Russ Engineering Center | Photo by Diana Jaber | The Wright State Guardian

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is expected to return to the moon in 2024, and Wright State University (WSU) alumna, Lindsay Aitchison, has been working on developing spacesuits for the mission. 

Aitchison graduated from WSU with a degree in Biomedical, Industrial and Human Factors Engineering (BIE). 

The BIE program at WSU 

The BIE Department Chair, Dr. Subhashini Gapathy, says that there are multiple career paths BIE majors can take on top of being able to work for companies like NASA. 

“The industrial and human factors engineering is a very broad area of application, so you pick any industry,” Gapathy said. 

Gapathy says that many alumni from this field work in supply chain logistics, healthcare and even in helping develop products like Google Glass. 

Biomedical engineering focuses on how to improve human performance regarding Aithison’s work with NASA. 

There are student organizations within this program at WSU that work with various fields including work with biomechanics. One of these student organizations is the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). 

The leader of the BMES, Shelby Holzapfel, discusses biomechanics and how they can be applied to space travel. The BMES works with the National Biomed Association and uses technology to improve the medical field. 

According to Holzapfel, biomechanics takes “dynamic concepts from mechanical engineering and applies them to the human body.”

Holzapfel applies biomechanics to Aitchison’s work with NASA.

“In terms of developing a spacesuit, there’s a lot of different things to consider as far as the effects of gravity on the body and some of the forces that you experience in space travel,” Holzapfel said.

There are more jobs in this engineering field than in other engineering fields, according to Dr. Gapathy. Students looking into this field will be able to go into almost any field they would like to work in, and they are also able to go into this program entirely online. 

Student Opinion

Students find that Aitchison’s work with NASA is a beneficial path that students can take from the BIE program. 

Joey Linser, a College Credit Plus (CCP) student taking a class at Russ Engineering Center, says that using biomechanics for space travel can help benefit society. 

“A spacesuit regulates biological needs,” Linser states. 

Linser says it’s great that alumni from the BIE program at WSU are able to work for large companies like NASA.

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