Aerospace students excel at AIAA regional conference

May 2, 2014

Mississippi State students earned recognition for their academic talent and communication skills at a regional aerospace conference.

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) held its Southeast Regional Student Conference at the University of Memphis earlier this year.  Bagley College of Engineering students earned awards in three of the six recognized categories.

“The work our students produce shows that they don’t just have classroom smarts, but they actually do things in labs and develop new ideas,” AIAA faculty adviser Thomas Hannigan said.

Amy Sanford placed first in the community outreach category with her presentation on the outreach efforts of the MSU rocket team, the Space Cowboys.  Through the team’s rocket launches and competition for middle and elementary school students, the Space Cowboys have exposed thousands of children to MSU and aerospace engineering.  This award earned her a spot at the AIAA national conference that will be held in Orlando later this year.

Members of the Space Cowboys also earned first place in the regional design team category with their presentation “Project DAEDALUS and the major Tom Launch Vehicle.”  The five team members explained their on-going work and highlighted unique design elements of the Space Cowboy’s 2014 rocket, “Major Tom.”

Charles Anderton received second place in the master’s technical paper category for his paper and presentation “Affecting Attitude Toward Science in Underrepresented Populations of High School Students.”

The two-day event included six sessions where students presented their work to a panel of judges and an audience.  Participants also had the opportunity to network with colleagues at social events such as a luncheon and barbeque on Beale Street.

With 39 students, MSU had the highest attendance from a single university.  Hannigan said he was impressed by their behavior throughout the conference and was proud to represent Mississippi State alongside this group.

“It’s a pleasure when the students not only act in a professional manner, but they also network in a professional manner and their papers win awards,” Hannigan said.

With more than 35,000 members, AIAA is the world’s largest aerospace technical society.  The purpose of this organization is to celebrate, inspire and advance the aerospace profession through community and collaboration.

For more information about AIAA, visit

Additional information about the Bagley College of Engineering can be found at


By: Erin Boozer