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IntroSems are designed with you in mind. Browse this catalog website to learn more and look for the 2024-25 seminars to post here in August, when you'll be able to start signing up for priority enrollment in 3 IntroSems every quarter.

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AA 107N: How to Shoot for the Moon

Cross listed: DESIGN 187N

General Education Requirements

Not currently certified for a requirement. Courses are typically considered for Ways certification a quarter in advance.

Course Description

The new space industry has the potential to impact and sustain life on Earth and beyond. For example, emerging space technology can shape the way we design habitats, food, and spacecraft for low-Earth orbit or the Lunar surface, as well as the products we use here on Earth. However, this requires us to take a deeper look at the potential influence on humanity and pushes us to declare our life mission as a lens for what we engineer. The aim of this IntroSem is to help undergraduate students "shoot for the moon" and "declare their mission" via an integration of curriculum from aerospace engineering and human-centered design. In this 10-week course, students will engage with some of life's hardest questions: Who are you?; Why are you here (i.e., on Earth and at Stanford)?; What do you want?; and How will you get there (i.e., Mars or your dream job after Stanford)? In addition, students will pitch new space-related, human-centered technology to potential stakeholders. To give students exposure to actual careers in aerospace design and engineering, mentors from industry will be invited to engage with students throughout the course and provide feedback on design projects.  Are you go for launch?

Meet the Instructors: Debbie G. Senesky & Seamus Harte

Debbie G. Senesky

Debbie Senesky

Debbie G. Senesky is an Associate Professor at Stanford University in the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department and by courtesy, the Electrical Engineering Department. In addition, she is the Principal Investigator of the EXtreme Environment Microsystems Laboratory (XLab). Her research interests include the development of nanomaterials for extreme harsh environments, high-temperature electronics for Venus exploration, and microgravity synthesis of nanomaterials. She received the B.S. degree (2001) in mechanical engineering from the University of Southern California. She received the M.S. degree (2004) and Ph.D. degree (2007) in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Prof. Senesky is the Site Director of nano@stanford.  In recognition of her research, she received the Emerging Leader Abie Award from in 2018, Early Faculty Career Award from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 2012, Gabilan Faculty Fellowship Award in 2012, and Sloan Ph.D. Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in 2004.  Prof. Senesky's career path and research has been featured on Seeker, People Behind the Science podcast, The Future of Everything radio show,, and NPR's Tell Me More program. More information about Prof. Senesky can be found at and on Instagram (@astrodebs).

Seamus Harte

Seamus Harte

Seamus Yu Harte is the Head of Learning Experience Design for the Electives Program at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (aka the and the founder of Only People, a learning experience design studio helping people remix how the(ir) world works. Prior to the and Only People, Seamus was the Senior Producer for the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, Learning Experience Designer at Digital Media Academy and Creative Director and Director of Radical Experiments at Nearpod. From Yoko Ono to David Kelley, Seamus has had the opportunity to teach and learn with world-class creatives. He holds a BS in Sound Design from SAE and a MFA in Documentary Film + Video from Stanford University where he also received Fellowships from The Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SiCA) and The San Francisco Foundation.