Darryl Williams

B.S.A.E. 2021

What is your next adventure?

My next adventure is I’ll be  pursuing a Ph.D. candidacy at the University of Minnesota. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be doing, but I’ll be researching computationally, high speed flows. Most likely my research assistantship (RA) will be to make significant contributions to a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), involving mathematical foundations for enabling robust optimal design of hypersonic systems.

What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?

I’m really excited to see a new part of the country. I’ve never been to Minneapolis, Minnesota so I’m looking forward to that. I grew up in Georgia, so I’m excited to venture off to a new place and also see where else I can contribute.

Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?

I had a co-op with ATA Engineering where I did finite element analysis, which later transitioned to computational fluid dynamics (CFD). After that experience I interned at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) where I did Thermo-Structural modeling of ceramic matrix composite or (CMCs) looking at crack propagation under high thermal loads.

My most recent internship was at MIT Lincoln Laboratories where I worked on a blend of aerospace and computer science-based research on a hypersonics project.

During my time at Tech, I did undergraduate research with the Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL), where I worked on a project to create a multidisciplinary optimization toolkit to aid in hypersonic vehicle design. It was an eye-opening experience in terms of looking at a system and determining how do you actually design a hypersonic vehicle which was really interesting and opened up a lot of opportunities for me.

Recently, I’ve been working in the Ben T. Combustion Lab where I’ve been conducting CFD research. Most recently, aiding in generating meshes for  fundamental research involving jet in cross flow simulations with research engineers Vishal Srinivas Acharya and Vedanth Nair.

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

The name brand of Georgia Tech has helped me tremendously. I’ve been awarded several scholarships and internship positions partly because of how well-known Georgia Tech is in the field of engineering and the number of employers that specifically seek Tech students. The relationships and partnerships that Tech is involved in really does matter.

It propels you ahead of the pack in terms of opportunities to network with individuals. It almost makes me scared to leave Tech because of the network, but it’s the right move right now to expand my network and venture off to work with a new group of engineers.

What advice would you give to an underclassman who would like to follow the same path?

I’ll speak from the heart, but first I’ll say take advantage of speaking with your professors and attending their office hours. They’re a knowledge bank that you should tap into and they’re here to help guide you.

Now from the heart, always be inquisitive and curious. Those are invaluable traits for a future scientist and engineer. Whether you’re at the workplace or in class, ask questions.

Push yourself, I would not be the person I am today if I hadn’t applied myself to different fields that I was uncertain of or investing in projects that I probably had no business being in because I had little to no experience, but I learned and grew my technical knowledge because of it.

Maintain your confidence. I would compare myself to individuals who had decades of experience in the field which led me to question my ability because I was always comparing myself to them. I feel something very important to keep in mind is that you're still young, and you're still learning. Some of those people have had decades to perfect the craft and they made mistakes along the way. So, don’t lose your confidence in failing at something! Make sure to have a healthy amount of confidence.