By Hailey Henderlight and Sreya Kumpatla; edited by Randall Brown
Aerospace engineering alumnus Camille Calibeo has soared to great heights since her 2019 graduation. Through her social media presence as “The Galactic Gal,” she enthusiastically fosters encouragement and positivity for women in STEM and communicates space-related scientific news in an interactive manner.
Calibeo worked on the Orion crew capsule at Lockheed Martin Space before deciding to transition to a more business development role. She decided to take up a new role as a business strategist at Orbit Fab, a space startup building the in-space propellant supply chain to eliminate the single-use satellite paradigm, while also building her Galactic Gal brand.
She returned to her alma mater on March 28 to host a talk entitled “Humanity’s Return to the Moon,” presented in collaboration with the Women in Engineering Program and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).
The event provided a unique opportunity for current Engineering Vols to hear from an aerospace engineer who also journeyed through Perkins and Ferris in her time at UT. She gave an inside look into the United States’ history with the moon and what the Artemis missions are working towards achieving within this decade. These missions will do a circumlunar, unmanned test run, a manned flight with the first Canadian, the first woman, and the first person of color on-board, and eventually land on the moon.
In her personal introduction, Calibeo cited many of her involvements while an undergraduate Vol, such as being the chair of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a Tickle College of Engineering Ambassador, and being a member of the BOSS Dance Company. She especially touched on her feeling of pride and admiration at seeing so many female engineers come out to her talk, something that she rarely witnessed at her time at UT.
“I think Camille was an incredibly involved AIAA chair and has left her mark on the organization to ensure that people in aerospace have a community,” said Sreya Kumpatla, events coordinator for AIAA. “So, I was very happy to see so many current AIAA members come out to hear her talk.”
Calibeo discussed some of the many opportunities in the space industry that are open to a wide variety of majors. This is a rapidly growing industry that needs innovative ideas to get humans to Mars and eventually beyond.
“Additionally, it was very fitting to see so many female engineers attending the talk of someone who has advocated for and continues to encourage women in engineering,” said Kumpatla. “It felt reaffirming to see someone who was once where we are and has now found great success in her field.”
Her presentation featured plenty of opportunities for audience interactions that made the event feel personal and engaging. This truly out-of-this-world event encouraged students to learn more about the current history getting ready to be made in the space industry, get valuable career advice for those wishing to work for widely known or smaller space companies, and to network with an alum and fellow students interested in furthering the space industry.
The Tickle College of Engineering is grateful for its extensive base of alumni and the many ways each of them continue support the college and university. It is an important time for all Engineering Vols to think about ways to give back post-graduation—and especially important to learn how to use professional and personal passions to impact the larger community through industry, social media, research, or education.
Calibeo has impacted people from around the world through all four of those avenues. She can be found on Instagram at @TheGalacticGal, where she continues to inspire women to pursue careers in STEM fields and inform about the importance of furthering space exploration.