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Craft Academy Student to Speak at Aeronautics and Astronautics Conference

Morehead State University

Kiera Fehr, a Lexington junior at the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, has been selected to present at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) ASCEND conference next month in Las Vegas.  

Fehr will deliver a presentation and be a member of a panel discussion on her involvement in STEM through Higher Orbits. This nonprofit organization works with astronauts and space industry leaders to spark and support student-led experiments.

Fehr is a student ambassador and advisory board member for the organization. She first became involved with Higher Orbits by attending a "Go For Launch!" event in 2016 and 2019. Fehr will speak with AIAA members and professionals in the aerospace and aeronautics industry about her experiences collaborating on two team experiments launched into space.  

This summer, Fehr had one experiment launched on SpaceX Dragon and another on a test flight for Space Perspectives.  

“At this second ("Go for Launch!") event was where I met the students that would come together to form Team V Atlas, eventually winning the spot to send our experiment to space," Fehr said. "I was able to travel to Cape Canaveral, Florida, to watch the rocket launch in awe, present our research in the Mars Theater at the Kennedy Space Center, and present our poster under NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis. The entire experience was incredibly moving and a spectacular reminder that dreams really can come true." 

Her conference session is Monday, Nov. 15.  

"I am absolutely thrilled to be offered the opportunity to present at the AIAA ASCEND Conference in Las Vegas. Before immersing myself in the wonderful world of Higher Orbits, I never would have dreamed that I could be a part of something so grand and so important," she said. "Not only am I honored to be chosen, but endlessly thankful to have such a strong support system within Higher Orbits to encourage and cheer me on to be involved with these events. Overall, it is hard for me to believe how incredibly lucky I am to be able to see and present at a conference so intertwined with the space industry. 

"I have been equipped with values of confidence, leadership, and appreciation of my work through Higher Orbits, and I wouldn't change anything about my experiences for the world." 

Fehr's team projects were selected from a national series of competitions partnered with Higher Orbits. Michelle Lucas is considered the principal investigator on the ISS National Lab paperwork.  

Winning experiments from Go for Launch! are launched to the ISS and receive hardware and engineering support from ISS National Lab Commercial Service Provider Space Tango. Her other team project went to the edge of space aboard Neptune 1. 

The Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics is a dual-credit academy for academically exceptional Kentucky students. Craft Academy provides students with a postsecondary residential experience to complete their junior and senior years of high school by enrolling in college courses.

The Craft Academy's purpose is to meet the unique educational needs of academically gifted and talented high school juniors and seniors in the Commonwealth. The academic rigor of the Craft Academy challenges students to excel at their highest level through project-based STEM+X courses and hands-on learning experiences, with emphasis on innovation, design and creativity, and civic and regional engagement. 

For more information about the Craft Academy, visit http://www.moreheadstate.edu/craft-academy or email craftacademy@moreheadstate.edu or call 606-783-2093.

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