Taylor’s Physics and Engineering department offers numerous opportunities for professional growth and development, including conducting research for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and participating in prestigious summer internships at major laboratories such as the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Physics/systems graduate Adam Bennett ’01 gained experience as an undergraduate in NASA research and Taylor’s nascent satellite program. Today, Bennet’s passion for research and innovation led to working for a start-up satellite company, HawkEye 360.
Discover the love for research
As a Taylor student, Bennett worked under the supervision of former faculty member Dr. Hank Voss heavily involved in partnering professors and students in research discoveries. This included supporting the pioneering work in the development of small satellites, where Taylor was involved in the early days of the Cubesat movement to explore new space technologies. The satellite program has since evolved into many successful launches of experimental satellites and the spin-off of a satellite manufacturer called NearSpace Launch, Inc.
“Taylor has given me amazing opportunities to continue to extend my lead,” said Bennett. “Even as a sophomore I was able to lead the Solar Car Racing Team and work with other students on a project to try and build a vehicle that could race across the US and on my wing I was able to have a student body his assistant. I had a phenomenal experience growing in the community and developing my faith while with Taylor.”
After graduating, Bennett looked for additional leadership opportunities and reflected on his passion for astrophysics, but wasn’t sure which direction he would take. Originally he wanted to do a doctorate, but this path no longer seemed so safe. Bennett chose to stay with Taylor and continue the work already begun by helping establish research and entrepreneurship programs for five years.
With his own change of course, he encourages students not to have to do all the math after graduation.
“You don’t always know, and you don’t always have to have everything in advance,” Bennett said. “It may take time to realize what you know, what your abilities and skills are, and what God may have called you to be. It’s not always like you have a perfect picture. What the adventure of life is, is the willingness to adapt and change plans and explore new avenues that you may never have anticipated. Things will come and you just have to rely and rely on God and the timeline.”
Bennett decided to take his educational pursuits in a new direction and went on to earn his MBA in Marketing and Business Innovation from Indiana University. He began driving leading-edge technologies at various companies, which led to his current position as head of the marketing organization for HawkEye 360.
Hawkeye 360 uses satellites around the world to search and geolocate the radio waves that radiate many modern technologies. This allows tracking changes in human activity, such as B. locating vessels that may be trying to hide illegal fishing or smuggling. This information is then offered as a commercial data service mostly for government purposes around the world.
Bennett joined the start-up over four years ago because he was interested in its unique approach to radio frequency (RF) acquisition with small satellites. Space-based RF detection was once only the domain of large governments, severely limited and limited to a few individuals. But as the first commercial company to deploy this type of capability, HawkEye 360 aspires to expand access to this important geospatial data.
“It’s been an exciting ride to see the company grow and prove it can be done,” said Bennett. “The value that the data is now offering to people around the world has been very positive – knowing that you are contributing and helping people who may be facing very difficult situations is rewarding.”
The satellites have even monitored Ukraine and other trouble spots, helping to uncover potentially complex and dynamic conditions. HawkEye 360 strives to be accountable, transparent, uphold high ethical standards, and diligently comply with all US legal and export requirements regarding the sharing and sale of the data.
Bennett emphasizes the importance of whether you work for a start-up or an established company that you choose one that reflects your morals.
“From a Christian perspective, we exist on this earth to serve others,” Bennett said. “If we’re going to work for a company that doesn’t serve or even harm others, I think there really has to be a Christian reflection of ‘should I work for this company?’ At every company I’ve worked for, I’ve felt that we help serve others.”
Realize your engineering passion
Taylor’s physics and engineering programs give you the skills to design and build cutting-edge technology and solve real-world problems as a student. Start now by arranging a campus visit. You’ll see our labs, meet faculty and students, and find out if Taylor’s engineering program is right for you.
Photos courtesy of Adam Bennett.