Avani Gupta

B.S.A.E. 2016

After graduation, what's your next adventure?

I will be coming back to Tech for grad school to work with Dr. [Marilyn] Smith in the CFD group.

What about your next adventure are you most excited about?

Grad school at Tech is going to be a very different experience from undergraduate. As an undergrad, you get  the big picture and some tools. As a grad student doing research, I will be able to use those tools to go deeper, to learn how aerospace engineering can make an impact.

Did you have any previous co-op internship or research experience that helped you get to this point?

As an international student, I focused on research, where there are no restrictions. I have been involved in research since the summer of my sophomore year. I worked in Dr. Komerath’s Experimental Aerodynamics group, Dr. Sankar’s CFD lab, and last year, in the Non-linear Computational Aeroelasticity lab. I was also chosen to participate in a summer academy sponsored by Airbus at Delft University where several teams of students from around the world competed to design a UA system. Each team had to sell their idea to Airbus. And that’s where I realized that a good idea is just a good idea until you can sell it to someone else. That’s something that engineers have to understand.

How did your educational experience at Georgia Tech help you achieve your goal?

I have wanted to be an aerospace engineer since I was a child. It’s cliché but true. I always believed in myself, too, but now that it’s happening, it seems unreal. Georgia Tech helped me get here by encouraging me to take new opportunities, to push myself. There have been times I’ve been struggling, but I’ve never been pushed to the point where there was no hope. I learned to keep hope, maybe, because there were so many people showing me all along the way that there was a lot I could do if I kept learning. And those people – my professors – haven’t gotten to where they are without failures. They showed me that you can fail at some things and still succeed. And that gave me hope…for my Airbus academy, I needed help getting a visa. And I needed help arranging transportation. At one point, I didn’t think I could do it, but there were professors making calls for me, to make things happen. They were all about success.

What advice would you give a student who was thinking about following your steps at Georgia Tech's aerospace engineering school?

I would say that you can’t let the stress bog you down. There’s a lot to learn, and you probably can’t learn it all, but there’s always something that will work out. And there are usually people around you who will help you succeed. School is like a sinusoidal wave – it has its ups and downs. You have to get used to it. Because you can’t be happy about the ups if there are no downs.