A Small Step in Space Exploration, a Giant Leap for Youth

In June this year, when NASA’s lunar probe was successfully launched and deployed into space, the team at Rocket Lab did a victory lap to mark the culmination of more than two years of collaboration between the two organizations.

Flynn DohertyA key member of this team is Flynn Doherty, who wants to improve life on earth for everyone today and tomorrow by applying his skills in areas with significant human impact. His constant source of inspiration is working with the Rocket Lab team comprising what he describes as “some of the most talented, mission-driven, and ambitious people around.”

Now a software engineer at Rocket Lab’s Operations Software team, Doherty first joined as an intern in 2019 while in his third year of university. He completed his honors thesis in collaboration with Rocket Lab, and went on to win the 2020 People’s Choice Award at the UC Engineering Final Year Projects Showcase. Sponsored by Rocket Lab, the project focused on exploring alternative methods for visualizing the state of the company’s electron launch vehicle.

“Currently, I am working in aerospace, where I have the opportunity to help create the high-speed railroads that will power the future space economy,” Doherty explains. “I am also keenly interested in entrepreneurship and aim to one day build a team of people to contribute to the next wave of life-improving neuro-technology.”

Young ICT Explorers Pave the Way

Among the first opportunities that allowed Doherty’s potential to flourish was the SAP-backed Young ICT Explorers program. In 2016, he won first place for his enterprising project TrendID, which aimed to demolish barriers to entry into the rapidly expanding, dynamic, and at times intimidating financial world. He believes that this was one of the first times where he applied what he had learned in computer science classes at school to the real world. It was also the first time he had to document, pitch, and present what he was working on to a wide audience of industry professionals.

“It was a daunting task, but one that made me recognize the importance of good communication and presentation skills, which drove me to improve my soft skills,” he shares.

Like Doherty, nearly 8,000 young minds from approximately 850 schools across Australia and New Zealand have found their calling, direction, and expert guidance through the hugely popular Young ICT Explorers competition.

Young ICT Explorers is a non-profit competition — created by SAP and supported by CSIRO Digital Careers and The Smith Family with the help of industry and university partners across Australia — to encourage primary and high school students in years three to 12 to solve real-world problems or showcase their passions using technology. The program, which is on dedicated funding, enables disadvantaged youth to have equitable access to participate and engage in the competition through the Young ICT Explorers accelerator program.

To Infinity and Beyond

As our Redefining (YOU)th campaign comes to a close on International Youth Day, we celebrate young people like Flynn Doherty in our shared stories. From young social entrepreneurs and program ambassadors to scientists and engineers, youth are changing the world. Doherty encourages today’s youth to achieve their dreams and refers to a quote by former United States Senator Bill Bradley: “Ambition is the road to your success, persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”

Over the last month, we have seen stories of ambition, persistence, courage, and dedication. Youth are not waiting for tomorrow, so let’s continue to support them today.