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Thendral Kamal 🤝

Aerospace Student @ Purdue University

  • 30 minutes

About the Mentor 🌱

Thendral is a junior in Aerospace (BSAAE '26) at Purdue University. She is also pursuing a certificate in Professional Industry Experience at Delta Air Lines (TechOps), working as an Aircraft Structural Support Co-op in Atlanta, GA. This past summer, she worked as a Space Sustainability Intern at SES Satellites in Washington, DC. She recently earned the title of Brooke Owens Fellow (2023), the first international student to do so from Purdue. As a fellow, Thendral had the opportunity to advocate for greater aerospace and STEM outreach in rural American communities, at the White House. Her passion and commitment to DEI in the aerospace industry was recognized by VP Kamala Harris. Born and raised in the melting pot of the Middle East as an Indian immigrant, Thendral hopes to bring a unique multicultural facet to every project she works on. Since the age of 13, she has been working towards her goal of becoming the first Indian woman to set foot on the planet Mars. In her spare time, she enjoys scuba diving, community theater, and hiking with friends. Her passion to pursue a career in engineering solidified when she won the opportunity to construct an experiment to be tested onboard a microgravity-simulating parabolic flight, with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai. At the age of 16, she constructed a fully functioning apparatus to prove Archimedes’ Principle of Buoyancy in reduced gravity conditions. Getting to experience weightlessness for the first time cemented her goal of becoming an astronaut. She gave a TEDx talk titled, ‘We Choose to Go to Mars,’ on the importance of investing in crewed missions to Mars, and was named one of the 24 Under 24 Leaders and Innovators in STEAM and Space by the Mars Generation in 2021. Her experience volunteering at the Sharjah Planetarium grew her passion for talking about space to young audiences and students. Today, she is a science communicator on Instagram (@thendralkamal), where she shares her journey to becoming an astronaut to over 2,000 inspired followers. Thendral also talks about research, having co-authored a paper on globular clusters in the Virgo Cluster as part of UC Santa Cruz’s Science Internship Program. She is a Purdue Summer Stay Scholarship recipient, which led to her research involvement at the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. Thendral's principles as an early career engineer are rooted in faith, perseverance, putting safety, ethics & compliance first, as well as always g

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