#IncomingElliott: Oliver Du Bois

#IncomingElliott: Oliver Du Bois

Oliver Du Bois smiles, wearing a McLaren F1 team polo while sitting in front of the Sydney Opera House, Oliver Du Bois, M.A. in International Science and Technology Policy 2024, #IncomingElliott

Oliver Du Bois graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in May 2023 with a Bachelor of Science in Spaceflight Operations, concentrating in Space Law and Policy. This fall he will begin pursuing his Master of Arts in International Science and Technology Policy with a concentration in Space Policy. He’s spent his last four years at Embry-Riddle as an active member of the university’s Student Government Association. He acted as the school’s Student Life Senator and the Director of Mental Health Initiatives where he actively worked to better student wellness and overall quality of life. He was also the Avion Newspaper’s News Editor for two years, overseeing all reporters for the paper and all published written materials. He shared his love of writing and all things communications-related by simultaneously acting as a communications tutor for Embry-Riddle. Oliver is interested in studying space debris mitigation and remediation techniques and hopes to become a space policy analyst.

What has been your most rewarding academic or professional experience so far?

As per one of my undergraduate capstones I was required to write a formal paper based around a relevant space policy issue. The purpose was for each student in the class to provide a unique analysis on the issue we selected. Space debris in particular has become an area of fascination for me in the last few years, leading me to have my capstone be an analysis on the current mitigation and remediation methods set in place globally regarding space debris. In this, I analyzed current policies in different nations and looked and various treaties and global mechanisms set into place. My professor wanted each student to submit their abstracts to International Astronautical Congress. Not expecting much, I did so, and forgot about it until months later when informed that my abstract was selected to be presented at the conference later this year. After having spent months researching, contacting organizations to use as case studies and compiling all the knowledge I had into this one capstone paper, seeing its acceptance into the IAC has become the most rewarding moment of my life. It dispelled a significant amount of my imposter syndrome and validated me by confirming that my choice of studies was not in vain. As the conference grows nearer, as does my excitement, and my gratefulness for such an amazing opportunity.

What made you interested in your graduate program of choice?

Something about outer space has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. From stargazing in my youth to secretly staying up past my bedtime to write stories about life beyond Earth, I’ve loved space. Flash forward to my senior year of high school, where my U.S. Government course had an assignment prompting each student to write about any policy issue of our choosing. Through research for this assignment, I discovered a field I never knew about: space policy. It merged my love for outer space and my affinity for writing, becoming a perfect combination of my two favorite things. A month or two after the paper, I decided to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for my Bachelor’s degree in Spaceflight Operations with a focus on Space Law and Policy. My space policy classes further cemented my newly discovered love for policy work and my desire to pursue a future in the ever-growing space industry, particularly relating to the issue of space debris mitigation and remediation. By choosing to attend the Elliott School’s International Science and Technology Policy program with a Space Policy concentration, I firmly believe I will be able to grow as a professional and makes my dreams of being a space policy analyst for the State Department a reality.

If you could be a paid intern anywhere in DC during your program, where would you want to intern and why?

If I could, I would absolutely want to be an intern for the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Space Affairs. With the furthered exploration and commercialization of outer space, as well as the increased usage of the final frontier, preserving outer space in particular has become a more pressing issue. The Office of Space Affairs is focused on this, among other vastly important initiatives involving outer space, which interests me significantly. My goal to someday be an analyst and advisor on policy issues relating to outer space would be aided immensely through working with the Office of Space Affairs. Being able to see how the United States handles space debris related issues, as well as diplomatic, exploration, observation and commercialization matters related to outer space would be eye-opening to say the least. Such an opportunity would be quite the honor and likely lead me to someday being able to help represent the United States on the UN’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Why did you choose to commit to the Elliott School for your graduate program?

While obtaining my Bachelor’s at Embry-Riddle I often went to my professor, Dr. Langston, who taught all of the space law and space policy courses on the campus for academic and career advice. She, alongside the courses she taught, was who helped push me into realizing my dream to someday work for the State Department and pursue a future in policy work. When my senior year of undergrad arrived I still felt unsure about how I wanted to proceed with my future post-graduation. After meeting more with Dr. Langston, I was inspired to look further into the Elliott School’s Space Policy Institute. After doing some research I fell in love with the program and decided no other graduate programs at any other school seemed to fit as perfectly. Without Dr. Langston’s guidance it is unlikely that I would have felt so confident and comforted in my choice for my academic and professional future.

What book have you enjoyed most in the past year and why?

This last year I finally had the chance to read The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. Once I started it, I found it nearly impossible to put it down. While in class or at work I was practically on the edge of my seat—literally and figuratively—waiting for a chance to get back to reading it. Without spoiling anything, The Priory of the Orange Tree is a beautiful story that follows multiples characters in a fantasy world where dragons and magic are enemies to some and allies to others. While in this incredibly crafted realm you get to experience characters with different viewpoints and perspectives, allowing the reader to try and decide the truth of all that’s occurring. The world-building, action, character interaction and development are astounding. Even in moments of low pace each page left me wanting more and made me attached to the different characters. As someone who loves the fantasy and sci-fi genres, it does become difficult for me to find new books in either category that feel unique and compelling. The Priory of the Orange Tree does this and more. I cannot sing its praises enough!

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The #IncomingElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights newly enrolling students to answer common questions posed by prospective and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.