Leon Begay: Changes in Altitudes (2003 NAU) & Undergraduate Intern (2010 ASU)

Leon Begay: Changes in Altitudes (2003 NAU) & Undergraduate Intern (2010 ASU)

Monday, February 1, 2016

I got involved with NASA’s outreach programs through the Changes in Altitude program in 2003 as an 8th grader at the Tuba City Boarding School (TCBS) in Tuba City, AZ on the Navajo reservation. I came into the program under Ms. Drewett of TCBS who lead a gifted and talented program at my school for many years and coordinated STEM opportunities for students. The Changes in Altitude program challenged middle school students with the task of sending a data collecting parcel into high altitudes with a weather balloon. Being able to be mentored through Ms. Drewett and program staff, I was strongly influenced in my pursuit of a STEM career. I had the great opportunity to work with NASA’s programs once more during my sophomore year at ASU as a Space Grant intern for the 2009-2010 school year. I worked with Dr. Jean Andino in researching and developing a novel landfill cover to mitigate methane emissions utilizing activated carbon technology. I interned with the City of Mesa’s Engineering Department to review and assist in coordinating city projects during my junior year. While at ASU, I was also employed as a lab technician for 2 years with Dr. Witzcak’s study with the US Department of Transportation in exploring rebound effects in pavements. I spent a summer at University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management learning entrepreneurship strategies that included exploring the Biosphere 2 in Tucson, AZ to learn about planetary exploration including atmospheric science and human development on other planets. I was involved in various groups while attending ASU including leading AISES (American Indian Science and Engineering Society), planning ASU STEM Outreach Tours to Tribal Nations, and formed a non-profit start up to develop affordable and sustainable housing solution for indigenous communities. I graduated from ASU in the spring of 2012 with a BSE in civil engineering. Currently, I’m working at Hoskin Ryan Consultants, Inc. located in Phoenix, AZ. Hoskin Ryan is a civil engineering firm that provides engineering services, hydrology, land development, land planning, land surveying, and construction services throughout the state of Arizona. I work with a team that manages projects and civil engineering services for development in private and public sectors including state and tribal lands for Arizona. I plan on applying for my Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Sustainability with ASU in the future.