Aerospace engineer, business strategist and educational influencer Camille Calibeo returned to her alma mater Monday evening to speak with students and faculty about her experience in the field. The event was attended by professors and students from all across campus with an interest in the cosmos.
Calibeo’s lecture, titled "Humanity's Return to the Moon,” also drew young aspiring engineers like freshman aerospace engineering major Matthew Jacobs, who were drawn to the lecture for its unique nature.
“I had heard from my friend that there was this really cool space talk going on today, so I just thought, why not,” Jacobs said.
After graduating from the University of Tennessee in 2019 with a degree in aerospace engineering, Calibeo began her work as an aerospace engineer in a secured location, which caused her to struggle mentally. One year later, the pandemic hit and The Galactic Gal, Calibeo’s personal website for public speaking and blogging, was born from the boredom of the pandemic.
“Post-grad depression hit me really hard I didn't like my job and I worked in a secured facility and hardly saw the light of day for a year,” Calibeo said.
Her influencing career first began when she posted about the SpaceX launch on her personal Instagram. Her posts soon became popular, and she decided to move her platform over to TikTok, where she could further educate everyday people on the wonders of outer space. Calibeo currently has hundreds of thousands of followers and millions of likes on the video sharing platform.
“I just started finding all these people interested in space and all these amazing women in STEM who are sharing their experiences online as well,” Calibeo said.
Calibeo has used her influence to give opportunities to everyday people, as well as take part in activities usually reserved for those with large financial means. In the summer of 2021, she was offered the opportunity to experience a zero gravity flight along with Victor Vescovo, a future astronaut who will be taking part in a mission this year, as well as the lucky winner from her instagram giveaway.
Currently, Calibeo works for Orbit Fab, a space tech company, as a business strategist. The goal of this company is to refuel satellites in an attempt to make them more reusable, benefiting industry by reducing waste.
“Currently we're working on a NASA proposal, so I lead the proposal effort, and I have a team of engineers and we look at the technology, and we go out and find partners,” Calibeo said.
Calibeo tours around several countries, conferences and universities to make her knowledge accessible for everyone. One of her main focuses is to teach others about the necessities of space exploration for the common good, and betterment of the earth.
“A lot of people think that this is a waste of time and money, but at the end of the day we can't live without space. If you pull up Google Maps, four satellites will be pinning your phone at any given time. Everything we've done so far has benefitted life on earth,” Calibeo said.
During her presentation, she spoke about her time working on The Artemis Program, a program whose goal is to return humans to the moon for the first time since 1972. This mission, set to launch in 2025, will include the first woman, person of color and comedian to step foot on the moon.
“I really enjoyed the presentation, it was definitely one of the better space talks I've attended so far, and I've been to a few,” Jacobs said.