The Business of Space: NASA apprenticeship opens path for student

Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Belk College junior Ryan Shah is combining his passion for business with aerospace.

Belk College of Business junior Ryan Shah’s aspirations aren’t bound by the walls of a city high rise, nor the atmosphere of the Earth.

Shah, a student in the Business Honors Program, recently completed a STEM-based apprenticeship program through NASA’s innovative “L’SPACE” Academy that had him writing a preliminary design report on the abundance of water on the moon’s south pole. 

“I believe expanding our involvement to the stars is how we can further our development on Earth to create a stronger future for humanity,” said Shah,  who is triple majoring in Business Analytics, Operations and Supply Chain Management, and Management Information Systems.

“At NASA, I took many of my technical writing skills from robotics and previous work experience and applied them here to write a document that encompassed the entire proposal process of funding, design, building, and launching the payload to achieve the mission of researching the abundance of water on the moon.”

A graduate of Green Hope High School in Cary, Shah spent his high school years helping his parents, who run a business that serves the education industry. 

“Business has been a significant part of my life throughout my schooling,” Shah said. “I think it is a great opportunity to interact with future generations to show them new and exciting innovations in STEM.

Years before finding his path in the Belk College, Shah became fascinated with the innovations in the aerospace and rocketry industry around age 10. He is the president of the 49er Rocketry and Projectile Society and serves as a teaching assistant for an astronomy course at UNC Charlotte. 

“The innovation in the industry with the space shuttle in the public sector and technological advances in the private sector has inspired me to be the change I wish to see in the world,” said Shah, who was a member of Belk College’s Business Learning Community and co-president of Toastmasters at UNC Charlotte.

In 2021, Shah also completed a supply chain and program management internship with The Boeing Co. This summer, he hopes to find a second internship in the aviation and aerospace industry.

And while he calls Charlotte home, Shah wants his impact to reach beyond the city. He believes research in aerospace has a holistic effect on humanity and is critical to continuing to innovate for a better tomorrow.

“There are many experiences and lessons that we can learn by reaching the stars to bring back to our home planet to benefit us all,” he said. “The Belk College is helping me achieve my goals by providing opportunities to assist my growth, may it be in my academic education, extracurricular activities, and professional development.”

About the Belk College of Business 
Established in 1970, UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business is one of the Carolinas’ largest business schools, with more than 5,100 students, more than 100 full-time faculty, and an alumni network of more than 34,000. Accredited by AACSB International, the college is committed to building strong partnerships in the greater Charlotte region and beyond as North Carolina's urban research business school. Learn more about how the Belk College is driving what’s next at, and on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.