For William Roach-Barette (17), technology has always been a source of curiosity. As a child, he was captivated by Steve Jobs’ technological advancement of 2007, the iPhone. The device sparked his interest in technology and led him to contemplate how technology like this could be improved. Yet, it wasn’t until his involvement with the Kentucky Space Movie Project that his interest in space was realized.
Sponsored by Dataseam, the Kentucky Space Movie Project challenges teams of students to produce videos in which they explore an aspect of space. Roach-Barette said, “that experience opened up my mind to the possibility of combining my love of technology to a love of space.”
During the summer of his junior year of high school, Roach-Barette spent the school break researching at Morehead State’s Space Science Center. The focus of his research was on building satellites. It was from this experience that Roach-Barette decided to attend Morehead State and pursue a degree in Space Systems Engineering. While at MSU, he received the Dataseam scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship awarded to five students from Dataseam school districts who plan to pursue a STEM-based degree.
After graduation, Roach-Barette was quickly hired by Rajant Corporation, which had just established a base in Morehead. His first role at Rajant Corporation, which produces wireless network infrastructure, was engineering based as he worked with a team of six MSU graduates to design and build unmanned drones for the government. The drones can “find a target and eliminate it before it can threaten a military base,” Roach-Barette said.
Today, Roach-Barette works for Rajant Corporation as the sales operations manager where he “wears a ton of different hats.” In this position, he ensures that sales associates are meeting their internal goals, as well as designing and maintaining software programs to assist the salesforce. Roach-Barette said, “It’s an analytics position and I do a lot of programming in a day.”
When asked about his biggest achievement so far, Roach-Barette reflected on his time volunteering at summer computer science workshops in far Eastern Kentucky. He said that his biggest success is, “how I can give back and bring more people like me to this industry.”
Additional information about MSU’s space science program is available at www.moreheadstate.edu/study/spacescience.