UMN Student Organization, AIAA, Kicks Off Another Year


AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) is a national professional society for people in aerospace engineering. The student organization at the University of Minnesota allows students to explore aeronautics and astronautics, participate in engineering projects and meet with industry professionals. The purpose of the group is to provide students with academic support and real-life technical experience in aerospace engineering.

AIAA was chartered as a student branch of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences in 1935, and was later rededicated into the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1965. Since its inception, the group has striven to create a community for likeminded individuals on campus. They have been awarded two national Outstanding Student Chapter awards and were named the Most Improved Student Group by the College of Science and Engineering in 2015.

“I participate in AIAA because it not only helps me build my communication and leadership skills, but also offers me numerous opportunities to network and gain more hands-on technical skills. I’ve been able to make some really great friends by being a part of the board and taking part in one of the project teams,” Sophia Vedvik, secretary of AIAA said.

AIAA is comprised of several project teams including, CanSat, Design, Build and Fly (DBF), Alpha Drone, and Space Systems Design Competition (SSDC). Each team works on unique projects throughout the year and participates in competitions.

Throughout the year, AIAA hosts multiple events including AeroFair, where students across majors can be recruited by industry professionals, and Aerospace Trivia Night, that brings together AIAA and Rocket Team during CSE Week.

“I participate in AIAA because it gives me valuable engineering, networking, and leadership experience,” Ryan Ichinose, Grad School Liaison for AIAA said, “I get networking experience from our Annual Aerospace Career Fair and other industry outreach events, and I get invaluable engineering and leadership experience from participating in the project teams. Plus AIAA also puts on social events that my friends and I all love!”