Hannah Drazan '19 COE

Villanova Engineering students

Hannah Drazan ’19 COE was one of four Villanova University Engineering undergraduates—an unprecedented number from one school—selected to participate in the 25th annual Citizens for Space Exploration (CSE) trip to Washington, D.C. in May 2016. CSE is a multi-state grassroots NASA advocacy group that meets with members of Congress to inform and educate them about the importance of a robust space exploration program and a fully-funded NASA budget.

An alumni connection helped make this trip possible: Tom Sanzone '68 CE, a former NASA employee and dedicated member of the Villanova community, supported and encouraged the students throughout the experience.

Hannah shared this reflection on the trip:

Our mission was quite simple, talk to congressmen and women about how space exploration is important to us, and advocate for a continuation of the funding NASA gets.

My approach as an undergraduate aspiring mechanical engineer was one that focused on how space exploration inspired me to pursue the career path that I am. The response I got from congressmen and their staff members was always positive. Inquiries came with a desire to understand rather than refute. The passion I exuded about space and the significance NASA has had on me was contagious. Feeling the energy of the room rise as I divulged my love of general relativity was incredible; seeing the politicians genuinely excited about all that is to come in the field I love so much reignited the flame of passion inside of me.

It was truly an experience of a lifetime and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a voice for NASA and an advocate for its future.

Annual support from alumni, parents and friends helps the College of Engineering deliver an innovative engineering education--including connections to personally and professionally rewarding experiences like the CSE trip. In response to the growing student interest in space exploration and the aerospace industry, the College will begin offering a minor in Aerospace Engineering in fall 2016--such initiatives are made possible through consistent donor support for the College of Engineering.

Pictured: Villanova participants in the 2016 Citizens for Space Exploration advocacy trip included alumnus Tom Sanzone '68 EE, and Mechanical Engineering undergraduates Don Pontrelli '18, Emily Dailey '18, Dominick Colao '19 and Hannah Drazan '19.

Adapted from a story published by the College of Engineering.