by Parker Cohensitt
Hello! My name is Parker Cohensitt. I graduated from ASU in 2021 with a bachelor of science in Technological Leadership. I was the first student to graduate with this major.
My entire life, I have greatly enjoyed space exploration, so I began my journey in college in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. As a junior, I made the decision to switch majors to a brand-new area that was designed by the Interplanetary Initiative. I knew it was risky to change paths so late in my college career, but Technological Leadership sounded like a well-rounded, integrated major, which was more aligned with my interests, so I decided it was worth the leap.
Switching majors was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The knowledge, opportunities, and friendships I have obtained throughout this experience have been life changing. Instead of sitting in a massive lecture hall with 500 other students taking notes the entire time, the Technological Leadership classes were inquiry-based. I would go into a classroom with only about 15 other students, sit around a table, and we would question the world around us. The process was much more authentic and personal than traditional learning experiences I’d had. We were able to specifically choose what we wanted to learn, and it was up to us to set goals and challenges to really push ourselves beyond our expectations. I began to learn about a variety of areas of study which included things like psychology, communications, project management, engineering, and computer programming. The learning process was never just a linear path; it was much more genuine and circuitous. It was never about going into class and learning whatever the instructor decided: we got to learn what we wanted and really focused on our own growth.
The flexibility of the program allowed me to look at the real world in a practical way. I learned how to adapt to whatever challenges may come my way, especially during the pandemic, which resulted in having to manage internships that were all virtual. The first internship I had was as a computer programmer for a physics institute in Iceland. I learned very versatile skills from this internship that can be applied to the real world, such as problem solving, critical thinking, as well as a new perspective on coding and its many uses. The second internship was as a data analyst for a search engine company in London. The skills I developed during that internship taught me to pay close attention to details and really investigate why things occur using trends, graphs, and patterns. The final internship was as a web developer for an online educational program provider. Web design is a very useful skill to have, and the procedures I used during this time helped me find new and better ways to absorb material. These experiences granted me the ability to adapt to any situation and find a way to learn and grow from it.
After graduating from ASU, I felt empowered and ready to take on the world. I kept in touch with my advisors and professors from the Interplanetary Initiative community who provided guidance on how to continue to grow and improve my professional profile, even though I was no longer enrolled in their classes. One thing I discovered during my journey in the Technological Leadership degree was that the reason I was so interested in space exploration is because I have a passion for contributing to the development of technology. The space field is always developing new innovations that change the world. I felt the same kind of passion in my newfound hobby of 3D designing and printing, so I began looking for jobs that were related to the interests and hobbies I enjoyed during my free time.
Today, I work as a Computer Design Technician at a medical device company that fabricates prosthetics and orthotics. I use 3D-design software to create custom-fit braces for our patients. When I started working there, I began with modifying lower extremity braces such as leg, ankle, and foot related orthotics. In only 6 months, I have worked my way up to designing cranial helmets for infants. I am working with advanced technology and 3D-printing every day, and knowing that I am helping others makes it even more fulfilling to me. I never would have imagined myself in this field, but the knowledge I obtained in my college career helped me self-reflect and analyze my interests to find what I truly love.
The best advice that I can offer is to constantly ask yourself questions about everything around you. Be observant and immensely curious. Curiosity is what sparks creativity and allows you to solve any problem you may face. Having this knowledge is what allows me to keep searching for new ways to grow. I may not be in school anymore, but I still consider myself a student because there is still so much out there for me to learn. I never could have imagined that becoming a part of the Interplanetary Initiative community would mean I had connections and friends for life. Even as an alumnus, I am still in contact with everyone from the Interplanetary Initiative, and it is an absolute pleasure being a part of this community as it continues to grow and develop.
To learn more about the Technological Leadership major and minor, please visit https://interplanetary.asu.edu/learn.