Grant Schlichting

M.S.A.E 2023

What is your next adventure? 
After graduating from Tech with my master’s, I’ll be heading to Wichita Falls, Texas to begin my pilot training for the U.S. Air Force at Sheppard Air Force Base. I’m an active-duty Air Force Second Lieutenant whose first assignment was grad school and now I’ll go fly.

What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?
The biggest thing I’m excited about is fulfilling somewhat of a childhood dream. I always liked planes, but it wasn’t until I was a sophomore in high school that I really realized I wanted to fly. So, it’s been a nearly 10 year journey to get to where I’m going to be and get to start flying. It’s cool to see the diligent hard work, keeping your nose down to the grindstone year after year to finally lead to a large reward.

Also, it’s exciting to now start following in the steps of my mom. She was in the Air Force and went to pilot training in Columbus, Mississippi where she flew T-38, which is going to be the plane that I’m going to get to fly too.

Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
As a Georgia Tech student in the Aerospace Systems Design Lab, I worked on a few different projects, one on digital engineering to create digital libraries for aerospace engineering firms to allow them to run more efficiently and improve information sharing amongst their units. I’m fortunate that I got to work on projects related to my Air Force work with logistics and assets.

By being able to study this in an academic setting, I feel a bit more prepared for when I get into an operational squadron and need to implement efficient leadership decisions.

I worked on another project under the Office of Naval Research on superconducting technologies for shipboard applications, so completely out of my wheelhouse, but that’s what’s cool about the opportunity at Tech, it preps you to be an engineer.

How did your educational experience at Georgia Tech help you to achieve your goals?
Georgia Tech is such a huge name and it gets you a lot of exposure to networking opportunities with influential and prominent people in the industry. I got to meet executives from Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Boeing that were visiting the Aerospace Systems Design Lab where I conduct research.

Even more than the name itself, Georgia Tech really opened my mind and provided a paradigm shift in how I look at design in that transition from undergraduate student to a graduate student conducting research. I was able to get an in-depth understanding of the motivation to various decision-making methods keeping aerospace principles in mind. The skills and tools I’ve learned at Georgia Tech, I can use in my squadron to make the lives better for the people around me and be a strong leader.

What advice would you give to an underclassman who would like to follow the same path?
Research, research, research. As an undergrad, get into research, whether it be experimental, computational, or analytics. It provides you a great opportunity for you to then apply for graduate school.

Learn coding skills. It’s a valuable skill that you’ll need to know as an engineer.

Learn how to communicate well. Work on how to present technical information to engineers and non-engineers. Doing this well will make you a huge asset. Present every opportunity you get, from conferences to in front of class. There’s a lot of value in learning how to communicate well, and it is a skill that will stand the test of time.