Eugina Mendez Ramos

Ph.D.A.E. 2021

What is your next adventure?

Immediately after graduation I'm joining Northrop Grumman in their Future Technical Leaders Program. It's a rotational program where they bring in professionals early in their career and place them in strategic areas within the company, so that they can really learn and become enveloped in the company.

I’m currently looking at a couple of different possible rotations now, it's still up in the air, but I will find out soon.

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

I’m most excited about taking what I learned through my doctoral program and through my research in the Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL) and taking that knowledge into a real world work environment.  

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

As a doctoral student, I interned at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama with the Advanced Concepts Office. There I had the chance to do some modeling simulation on their electric cluster systems for their in-space vehicles that utilize cryogenic propellants.

The kind of modeling simulation I did there is very similar to what I’ll be doing at Northrop Grumman. It gave me a lot of training not just in the real-world environment but also in the kind of group environment that multi-disciplinary work gets you ready for. Working in systems engineering you find a lot of that collaborative type of research, and you need a lot of that hands-on practice so that when you go and do that in the real-world it really helps your capabilities stand out.

My thesis work focused on the modeling and simulation of the boil off that occurs and the liquid hydrogen propellant tank, specifically of in-space vehicles. Researchers need a more updated version of the models that we are using today, so my particular doctoral research looked at creating a simpler model that we can bring into the design process to give us more accurate estimates of the propellant losses in the concessional design process.

I also did hands-on work through ASDL and at the High-Power Electric Propulsion Lab with Prof. Mitchell Walker. There I had the opportunity to interface on-site with a customer every day by providing the necessary conditions to test a component on one of their systems within the vacuum chamber. That experience was really interesting and definitely something I will take with me everywhere, especially in my new position.

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

The lab experiences I had with Prof. Mitchell Walker and Prof. Dimitri Mavris allowed me to experience much more than just the classroom here at Tech. I got to experience hands-on research with not only other students, but also with other organizations in a customer-facing role, and in the type of research that I ultimately want to do. I wanted to interface with clients, learn how to communicate effectively, and work collectively with a variety of different people in a group setting. I found that very valuable and I’m not sure that I could have had that anywhere else because Tech has so many strong relationships.

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

Classes are important but there's so much more to education and experience than what you learn in the classroom. I always encourage students to take an internship in something that you're interested in or something that you think is going to shape your future. Try and take more than one internship so you know you tried a lot of different things but so much of the experience extends beyond the classroom, so get your experience in any way, shape, or form and if you can't find one, make one. It may sound silly to make an opportunity, but if it's not there you have to make something happen in order to meet your goals.