What is your next adventure?
I am moving to Florida in June to take a job at Boeing Defense and Space as a mechanical design engineer for the Exploration Upper Stage of the SLS [Space Launch System]. My family and I will be watching the virtual graduation online, but we're also planning to attend when the Institute hosts a live commencement ceremony later on. My parents, my grandparents, everyone. I'll be back.
What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?
I'm excited to learn so many new things at my job. I'm from upstate New York and so the only places I've lived are there and in Atlanta. Florida, where I don't know anyone, will be a new experience. I'm looking forward to making new friends and to living near the beach. And I'm excited because I'm blessed to have a job that isn't delayed, that's starting on time.
Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
I started doing research the summer after my sophomore year when I worked in the ASDL learning Python for integrating API [application programing interface] into the algorithms they were working on. The fact that I had already learned Python made a big difference the next summer when I applied for a propulsion engineering internship for the Launch Vehicle Division of Northrop Grumman in Arizona. That internship taught me so much about the workforce that you can only gain through working in the field. This semester, I have been finishing up research I'm doing with Dr. Saleh writing a paper on regression analysis for helicopter design.
How did your educational experience at Georgia Tech help you to achieve your goals?
Tech honestly taught me more than anything to work hard. You can't expect to do well if you don't work hard. And you'll learn more if you put everything into it. That approach really helped on my internship. After working one summer for Northrop Grumman, I got a return offer, to go back for a job because I had learned how to give it my all.
Tech also taught me to gain depth, not just good grades. There are a lot of people who can get good grades, but Tech demands that you put your grades to work, semester after semester.
What advice would you give to an underclassman who would like to follow the same path?
Everyone's experience is different, but the overarching truth, no matter who you are, is to dip your toes into as many things as you can...without going overboard. You want to balance your involvement so that you can give everything you do enough time.
Another thing I'd say is to try to become an expert in something that makes you stand out. For me, that was two things. One, was learning how to code in languages other than the ones they teach you in class. The second thing is, do something outside your major to improve your soft skills, your communication. I worked as a FASET leader, introducing students to campus, and I joined the Georgia Tech dance team, whenever my semester studies gave me the time. I also joined a sorority - Phi Mu - that gave me a social life, a community away from classes. All of those things helped me develop team skills, which you have to have in the workplace.