Inc. Quotes QuesTek on Diversity in the Space Industry

  • Post category:In the News

Severine Valdant, chief commercial officer at QuesTek, was asked to comment for an Inc. article about NASA’s recent Equity Action Plan, which aims to increase diversity in the space industry, and remove barriers for a wider range of innovators to break into the space economy. 

 Here is an excerpt from the article where Severine is cited: 

 NASA’s Equity Action Plan seems like a “big step” toward promoting diversity in the space economy, says Severine Valdant, Chief Commercial Officer at QuesTek Innovations. The company is an engineering firm based in the Chicago area that solves materials challenges for various clients, including private-sector space exploration companies and government agencies. She notes that increasing diversity of the STEM pipeline remains a huge focus for companies in the public sector and the private space economy. 

 Severine grew up and obtained her degrees in France, then built an engineering career in the United States, so in her interview, she noted that the plan to expand access to NASA programs and activities for limited-English proficient populations struck her in particular as a key aspect of the program.  

 “Science is bigger than any one language or one culture,” she told Inc. “There’s a lot of energy right now in the space exploration field to go further, faster and deeper, and in order to do that there’s a need for a variety of backgrounds, beliefs, ways of thinking and approaches.” 

 QuesTek and Northwestern University hold an annual STEAM day for students at Chicago Tech Academy High School to showcase fields of study and careers in materials engineering. The goal is for students who may be interested in an industry like space to be exposed to a wide variety of pathways to contribute to that field. 

 “High school students might not be as aware of materials engineering as they are of the latest telescope images or rocket launches, but it’s important to expose students early in their academic careers to materials engineering, which is driving a lot of the innovation in the space exploration industry right now,” Severine told Inc. 

 Read more about Severine’s unique business and engineering career in this recent profile from Society of Women Engineers Magazine.