NASA Administrator and Tulsa native Jim Bridenstine visited Oral Roberts University Wednesday.
He spoke to engineering students and toured ORU's new engineering complex.
Bridenstine got a first-hand look at several projects, some of which won NASA competitions.
The complex has a 3-D lab, and machine shop, which holds the University's Hyperloop Pod from the SpaceX competition, and a virtual reality flight simulator project.
He said he's excited to chat with some of the state's brightest engineering students.
"Also I want to talk specifically to the students who won the NASA design challenge, they were responsible for building a model of an electrically powered aircraft, which is something that NASA is very keen on helping develop, not just for the nation but for the world," Bridenstine said.
Bridenstine said their biggest missions include commercializing space travel and putting Americans on Mars. He said to do that, they'll need help from people like students at ORU.
"We're going to need the greatest minds in the STEM fields coming out of universities and supporting our missions," Bridenstine said.
Dominic Halsmer is a Professor of Engineering at ORU. He said it's great to have NASA's administrator in town to check out what the college is doing.
"And to give us feedback on how we're training up engineers to make sure we're giving them what they need to do the cutting-edge work that they do," Halsmer said.
Bridenstine said what he saw at ORU is promising to the future of engineering, and for NASA.
"Applying what you learn in the classroom to hands on experience is so so valuable for what we need as an agency, as NASA," Bridenstine said.
Bridenstine said universities are critically important for NASA's agenda, and he's thrilled after touring ORU.