Delphine LeBrun Colon, a senior in mechanical engineering, has been accepted into NASA’s prestigious Pathways Program.
The Pathways Programs were established in 2010 to provide clear paths to federal employment for students and recent graduates. After completing her degree at Oregon State University, Delphine will join NASA as a full-time rocket scientist.
Born in France but making her way (by way of eight years in New York City) to the Pacific Northwest to study ecological engineering, Delphine transferred to Oregon State in the spring of 2017 from Linn-Benton Community College, where she had been enrolled in the LBCC/OSU Degree Partnership Program. While at LBCC, Delphine participated in the Space Exploration Club, which ultimately changed her career direction from ecological engineering to mechanical engineering with a minor in aerospace engineering.
“Experiencing a rocket launch sparked something in me. I knew I wanted to work in aerospace,” she said.
Delphine wasted no time engaging in leadership and research opportunities at Oregon State. In the spring of 2017, she became the vice president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics chapter at OSU. That fall, she helped lead a team of Oregon State and LBCC students to launch a high-altitude balloon to view the solar eclipse from almost 20 miles above Earth. Delphine also led a team of senior engineering students, mentored by Nancy Squires, senior instructor of mechanical engineering, and sponsored by Oregon Space Grant Consortium and NASA’s RockSat-C program. Their team designed, built, and tested a gamma ray polarimeter utilizing Compton scattering to detect the polarization of gamma radiation.
“Delphine is an amazing leader,” said Squires. “She is passionate about aerospace, and I am confident she will make great contributions in her academic program and beyond.”
Delphine previously interned at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, along with four other Oregon State students, as one of 200 interns from across the nation, selected from a pool of over 10,000 students. There she assisted with data assessment of the RS-25 engine. Four RS-25 engines will power the core stage of the world’s most powerful rocket, NASA’s Space Launch System.
Delphine currently works as a research assistant for graduate students at the Propulsion Lab, working on sub-atmospheric and dilution testing of jet fuel flames and has begun her own research on radiation emissions as part of her Honors College thesis. She is a recipient of the Furman Class of 1964 Scholarship and the Mimi Shawe Scholarship.