Alec Devereaux

University of Colorado at Boulder
Boulder, CO

Aerospace Engineering Sciences

Principal Investigator: Dr. Bill Warmbrodt

Easily the best part of buying a new fridge is the huge box that comes with it. The amount of time I spent in my "spaceship" may actually rival Valeri Poyakov's current record of over 437 days, and I bet he didn't eat as many home cooked meals as I did. Looking back on it I have come to realize that using tape to seal all of the holes, so my oxygen wouldn't leak out, and pondering how to prevent my cardboard spaceship from burning up during reentry may have been foreshadowing my engineering career. Since then I have graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, worked for an international laser company, started my Master's in Bioastronautics and now work as an intern at the NASA Academy!

Education and Experiences

My young career began in earnest back in 2007 when I completed high school and started at the University of Portland in Portland, Oregon as a mechanical engineering student. While my career goals lie in the aerospace field, I wanted a diverse background in engineering and so elected to start with an ME degree and then pursue a higher degree in my true area of passion: space exploration. Additionally, UP offered a small class size of 40 mechanical engineers and opportunities to get to know and work with my professors. Throughout my education I participated in a multitude of projects including prototyping a set of hand paddles to actuate a car's pedals for people without leg functionality, turbine design, SAE Baja kart design/building and finally, my senior project, building an RC aircraft for the SAE Aero Design West Competition. Having only limited knowledge of aerodynamics I am pleased to say we successfully built a flying aircraft that landed us in 14th place overall and 2nd in written reports. It was an amazing experience to see the "Ranger" lift off the ground the second time (first time it flew into a tree) and successfully land minutes after. Next time I hope that whatever it is I design makes it all the way to space before returning back to Earth. Soon after the project, I graduated Cum Laude with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and started the next leg of my journey.

In Fall 2011, I returned home to my native state of Colorado to continue my education as a graduate student at the University of Colorado. I am currently working towards my Master's in Aerospace Engineering Sciences with a focus in Bioastronautics, which is the study and support of life in space. I love my program, professors, and peers and can't wait to discover what I will learn tomorrow. Recently I have also joined the Dream Chaser graduate projects team, working closely with the Sierra Nevada Corporation to conduct human factors evaluations and first round cockpit layout analysis. Not only am I being taught by former astronauts, but I am working on an actual spacecraft which will hopefully deliver people and cargo to the ISS in the near future.

In addition to my educational background I also have a diverse work background that incorporates both an international laser corporation and a sandwich shop. I will focus on the engineering positions but can make a mean turkey melt if you're interested. In 2010, I worked at the nLIGHT Corporation, a leading producer of semi-conducting lasers. During my internship I designed tooling and laser components and tested them once they were fabricated. I spent a large portion of my days in a bunny suit in the lab assembling laser packages as well. Finally, I helped write a Phase 1 SBIR proposal on spectral beam combination. Who wouldn't want to spend a summer playing with lasers?

Additional Information and the Future

When I'm not working in the lab or finishing a homework assignment I enjoy a wide variety of activities. I am very active and love to play soccer, go on hikes, play paintball and in general be out in the sun. Also, I love to cook and learn new recipes. My friends and I often do "Iron Chef" like cook-offs, where we have a secret ingredient and see which team can make the best meal from it. Finally I really like photography both in terms of its artistic values and for documenting adventures.

I would like to continue down my current path and work for a company or organization that is involved in getting people to space. I see both the commercial and educational benefits of human spaceflight and hope that my actions and accomplishments inspire future generations of engineers and astronauts. If the opportunity arises I would also gladly go into space.