TEDx Virginia Tech presents


at the Moss Arts Center

Josh Jenkins at TEDxVT 2013: Launching lemons into space


Joshua Jenkins

Speaker 2013, Steering Committee 2014; Student, Aerospace Engineering '16

In the spirit of Ut Prosim, I aim to serve in two specific ways. The first of which is my passion to inspire. I have known that I wanted to become an aerospace engineer since I saw a video of the space shuttle launching in first grade. I know the feeling of discovering what one wants to do for the rest of their life and it is empowering. I aim to help others discover their passions as well. The second is to be able to become the first Hokie undergrad to be launched into space. I want to prove to the world that the Hokie is not a flightless bird and I want it to serve as an example that the impossibilities of today are just the realities of tomorrow. Following our mottos of Ut Prosim and Invent the Future, I aspire to see a day where all minds are as inquisitive and innovate as those that make up this great university. This is something that I hope to begin and continue to work on with TEDx Virginia Tech. I have excelled in my studies in aerospace engineering as I’ve dedicated my passion towards forwarding the rocket industry through guidance, navigation, and control (GNC). I not only hope to help innovate the status quo for rocket technology but to also enhance features pertaining to reusability and “green efficiency” through fiscal responsibility and environmentally friendly technology. I aspire to walk in the footsteps of SpaceX’s Elon Musk, Google’s Larry Paige, or Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg to not only be financially set for my own future goals of angel investing but to also help shape the future of our technological driven world. I dream of a world where access to space will be cheap, safe, and efficient enough for the rising private space industries to break the surly bonds of our Earthly prison. While an engineering background will produce the technology, this is only the surface of problems which are then later plagued by the issues of policy and business. I have taken it upon myself to find the time out of my busy engineering curriculum to attend Startup Weekend Blacksburg, join the VT entrepreneurship club, and actively engage with local technological incubators including Techpad and NuSpark. My endeavors have led me to joining the Kairos Society, a global network of student entrepreneurs. This provided me the opportunity to conduct business with the world’s 50 best student founded companies on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange while networking with aerospace company CEO’s on solving the biggest problems facing the industry. Even in a situation where one has the right technology and the perfect market conditions, the political landscape could alter the success of the 21st century engineer. This is why I have visited over 145 national House and Senate offices, represented 18 grass root space policy organizations and professional societies, and lead a team of Hokies to represent Virginia Tech’s interests in Richmond Delegate and Senator’s offices. In order to fill the gap of political leadership that engineers are lacking, I have founded an organization called STEM Students on Capitol Hill (https://www.facebook.com/STEMstudentsoncapitolhill). Our mission is to unite students majoring in the STEM fields and let their voices be heard in their Congressional representatives’ offices concerning emerging technology and policy that they are passionate about. I believe in being the change you want to see in the world. When an opportunity offers the slightest chance of optimization or improvement, I jump at it. I am this way because of my friends, family, God, and fellow Hokies for always encouraging me to keep the dream alive and never falter. I believe TEDx is a vehicle in which we can instill this passion into every future and current innovator in the New River Valley and greater Blacksburg/Roanoke areas. TEDx is an inspirational force like no other and I am honored for the opportunity to help make it an event like none other.

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED. TEDxVirginiaTech is coordinated by the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER).

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