ERSKINE PROGRAMME VISITOR PROFILE – TIM ATKINS

Tim Atkins visited us from TriVector Services in the USA.

Tim Atkins with his host and students

Where have you come from, and what do you teach?
I work at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.  I develop avionics requirements, testing, and analyses for key components of NASA’s Artemis Program; and communicate NASA’s vision of space exploration to students in the US and NZ.

What interested you in the Erskine Programme/why did you want to come to UC?
My wife and I regularly visit our daughter, who lives in Christchurch with her husband and young daughter.  When I visited in early 2018, I contacted UC and offered to present information about NASA; Margaret Agnew enlisted me to present at the UC Connect forum then; afterwards, Dr. Chris Hann recommended me for an Erskine Fellowship to support the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering senior-level rocket design course.

What have you been doing at UC?
I lectured 3 hours weekly to an excellent group of young engineering students on rocket design parameters and trade-offs; NASA Systems Engineering approaches; and publicly-available Space Launch System technical information.  I also provided input to the UC Rocketry safety protocols for their launches, and participated in a test launch that served to train students on processes and safety checkpoints for a future Milly launch.  I also investigated future collaborations with some of my US colleagues and others here at UC.  Apart from UC, I communicated NASA’s vision to several primary, intermediate and secondary schools in Christchurch and Dunedin; I expect many of those students will pursue studies in Math and Science, that many of those will end up at UC, and – who knows? – perhaps some will work at NASA one day.

What have you most enjoyed about your time here at UC/Christchurch?
Time with family.
Beautiful New Zealand Spring weather.
Rugby – the local Canterbury team and the World Cup on TV.
Working with Dr. Hann, his brilliant students, and amazing support staff in the CoE, the UC Communications Office, and Erskine Office.

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