Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2018
Rocky Mountain College, Computer Science and Chemistry, ’18
Host Institution: Radiant Solutions (Digital Globe)
Mentor: Scott Paraznyski
Ayla Grandpre graduated with a dual major in Computer Science and Chemistry with minors in Math and Physics at Rocky Mountain College in Montana. She traces her inspiration of aerospace back to when she attended a community astronomy class as a young girl in her small hometown and vividly remembers seeing Saturn’s rings for the first time.
Throughout her schooling, she had an avid role in her community. Ayla mentored at her local high school’s NASA HUNCH class and at several different schools to teach computer science. She strove to inspire the younger generation by being involved in many STEM outreach activities like her Space Grant Consortium’s (MSGC) Space Public Outreach Team (SPOT), by being a NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador, an AmeriCorps Campus Compact volunteer, and by starting a STEAM middle school outreach program at her college called SMArt Girls.
Previously, Ayla worked on a variety of diverse space-related projects. By sending a project to the International Space Station (ISS), her research group was able to look at the growth of algae inoculated in agar in microgravity. She has also previously interned with Montana State University’s Space Science Engineering Laboratory (SSEL) to create small satellite chassis and battery pack, attended the SmallSat Conference in Logan, UT, and interned with NASA at Kennedy Space Center on their Veggie team analyzing different fresh crops for astronauts to eat on the ISS and for potential long-term space missions. She also worked as a lab prep and is an amateur astronomer in her free time. She looks ahead to create a meaningful future in aerospace for not only her but for the generation that follows.
As a Brooke Owens Fellow, Ayla interned with Radiant Solutions/Digital Globe to create analytics software for natural language processing (NLP) applications for rare event prediction. She returned as a full-time employee in 2019. In the future, she hopes to pursue a doctorate in astrophysics and travel the world charting the night sky.