Since the Apollo era, 12 people have walked on the moon, however none of them were people of color. As a child Aaron Shepard dreamed of becoming an astronaut, voyaging across outer space, and becoming the first African American to set foot on a world beyond the Earth.
Aaron graduated with honors from Claflin University with a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. After working in the medical industry for a few years he decided to follow his passion for developing innovative technology. He enrolled at Clemson University to pursue a graduate degree in electrical engineering.
As a student Aaron conducts NASA funded research on robots modeled after elephant trucks and octopus arms. His work focuses on finding novel ways to use those robots to help astronauts accomplish various tasks in outer space. He hopes to develop technology for space exploration and one day have the opportunity to use that technology as an astronaut himself.
Although some of Aaron’s dreams are truly out of this world, there are plenty of goals that he would like to accomplish here on planet Earth. Aaron is a dynamic and charismatic speaker who is passionate about giving back to his community. He works as a tutor and mentor for the PEER & WISE program at Clemson which helps underrepresented students studying STEM subjects. In addition through public outreach and various workshops Aaron hopes to:
-Break the stereotypes of sciences being too boring/ difficult and show that with that work of scientists and engineers can be fun.
-Encourage more students, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, to pursue careers in engineering sciences and mathematics.
-Help cultivate the next generation of technically savvy and culturally competent engineers and scientists.
In his free time Aaron enjoys running, video games, building drones and 3D printers, Latin dancing with his wife, and being lazy with his dog. As Aaron pursues his dreams he wants to ensure that others have the confidence and skills to pursue theirs!