Institute of Navigation Conference

Natasha Norris

Natasha Norris,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 18 September 2015

This past week, I attended the Institute of Navigation Conference in Tampa, Florida. This is the first conference I have attended related to my research in avionics navigation. I co-authored a paper with my advisor discussing our research related to a high-gain dish antenna data collection of GPS signals. Moreover, the purpose of the conference for me was to realize if going into avionics navigation research was the right area of study when I go into graduate school next Fall.

I sat through a variety of presentations, from using the magnetic field combined with Wifi for locating yourself inside a building to a variety of ways to analyze the GPS signal and code. I was overwhelmed with all the knowledge and research being presented, but I definitely realized that this is what I want to do in graduate school.

The variety of topics got me excited for my future in research. I found there were so many problems still in the navigating world; though this might not sound like great news to you, it only sounds like I have more research to do to find solutions, which is wonderful to me.

While attending the conference, I noticed how few women were in attendance and that I was the only undergraduate attendee. On the first day, this intimidated me. First, these are the top engineers in navigation, how could I ever hold a conversation and seem at least a little intelligent? Secondly, I had never really experienced a situation before where I felt like a minority as a woman in the engineering world.

But as the conference went on, I had encouragement from everyone I met to continue my studies in navigation. Many told me stories of how they started and that I needed to remember that they had been in my seat before and it can only go up from there. They also encouraged me to attend a Women in Positioning, Navigation, and Timing meeting; the meeting encouraged women early in their PNT career to continue working and empower themselves.

Not only did I benefit in my research from this conference, but I grew in confidence in my knowledge, I learned that there is so much support in the navigation field for women, and I am sure about my path to avionics navigation research for my future graduate studies. This trip became the most beneficial experience I’ve had in my engineering career, and I extremely thankful to Russ College for this opportunity.

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