What is your next adventure?
I will be staying at Georgia Tech to continue on to my Ph.D. in aerospace engineering.
What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?
I'm done with taking classes so now I can fully focus on my research and working on my thesis. Before, I was splitting up my weeks between research and classes which can be really hard at times, so I'm looking forward to having more time to research which investigates wind gusts in urban environments and applies it vertical lift vehicles especially small ones, like drones.
Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
As an undergrad student, I did research with Prof. Lakshmi Sankar, looking at the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) of an airfoil and investigating the effects of different angles of attack. It was enough to introduce me to CFD which I really liked so I decided I would study it in graduate school. During graduate school I started doing research in the Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence (VLRCOE) with Prof. Marilyn Smith.
How did your educational experience at Georgia Tech help you to achieve your goals?
As an undergrad I knew I wanted to study helicopters, which Georgia Tech has one of the biggest research centers for helicopters and rotorcraft, the VLRCOE. Dr. Smith and Dr. Sankar helped me figure out which area I wanted to study and when I became a master's student I knew I wanted to do CFD. Throughout my time as a master's student I've been able to work on the same project with the VLRCOE which is really rare in that I've worked on it from the start of the project and so I'm able to use all the research and discovery up into this point and I'll continue to pursue it as I work on my thesis as a Ph.D. student.
What advice would you give to an underclassman who would like to follow the same path?
If you're in a school that has research, especially research in areas that interest you, make sure you ask professors about their research. Don't be afraid to ask because they can help answer your questions and possibly see if they have a spot for you in their lab. The professors at Tech are always helpful and so are the grad students. We've been in your shoes - just a few years ago - so we understand not knowing what to do or how to move forward and we will do our best to help.