Senior and Space Club Commander Katherine Plotz reflects on ASIJ’s first Space Conference, held on May 23.
Sitting in the audience, I could not help but feel amazed that we had actually pulled it off—we completed our mission of spreading our love for space science to others and inspiring the next generation of space influencers.
The ASIJ Space Club Conference, nicknamed “SC²,” stemmed from an idea that formed during a meeting of the ASIJ Space Club leaders. Our idea was to bring together students, adults, teachers, scientists and others to connect and learn about space science. With so many new advances in the field, we chose “Looking Forward in Space Exploration” as our theme, feeling it would resonate throughout the community. We wanted to host incredible speakers, inspire a great turnout and we, most of all, wanted the event to be free and accessible to everyone.
SC² was completely student-organized and run. With dedication and hard work, we were able to host four world-renowned speakers: Dr. Elizabeth Tasker, an exoplanet researcher and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) professor, Mr. Garvey McIntosh, the NASA attaché for Asia, Ms. Naoko Yamazaki, JAXA astronaut and member of the Cabinet Office Space Policy Committee, and Mr. Nobu Okada, Founder and CEO of Astroscale. We knew that each speaker would provide unique insight into their respective fields and be a source of inspiration to those who attend.
We then had to get people to attend! Our Space Club members spent countless hours corresponding with other schools and organizations, putting up posters around town and talking with anyone we could about SC². The total headcount: 180 attendees representing 22 schools from Japan and around the world.
The day of the conference was hectic and truly special. Networking breaks gave attendees the opportunity to make connections and talk to someone new. People would ask how they can get involved in our Space Club, and want to stay in touch and collaborate over the coming years! The most amazing part of the conference was seeing everyone from different walks of life come together because of one common interest: space. The awe on faces as the speakers spoke of exoplanet formation, the future of NASA, their time spent in space and how they will rid space of debris was the best reward one could ask for.
This was the Space Club’s first year holding SC², and we could not have asked for a better outcome. We made memories that will last a lifetime and, as a graduating senior, I am glad this was how I finished my high school career—giving back to the community who gave so much to me.
Hope to see you at the ASIJ Space Club Conference 2019!
For more information about the ASIJ Space Club Conference, please visit our website www.asijspaceconference.com.