What is your next adventure?
I’ll become a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in two weeks. I'm commissioning on Georgia Tech. I was selected for a program where my first assignment will be earning my master’s degree here at Georgia Tech. They gave me eighteen months to complete it, but I will complete it in twelve months. So, I will be sticking around for another year, working in the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL). They will be sponsoring my studies, so I’m getting paid to study. I’m grateful to have this opportunity.
Additionally, I will continue my work in AeroAfroAstro as the new President.
What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to serving as the President of AeroAstroAfro. We accomplished a lot in the first year, and I can’t wait to continue that work. I'm also looking forward to getting in on early research and development work on the Air Force side of things for hypersonic systems because I want to get an assignment in development in the Air Force Research Libraries (AFRL). They have sites that I’m interested in Wright-Patterson, Ohio, or Flint Air Force Base in Florida, Oklahoma, and of course, there's also the Pentagon.
Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
For my first internship, I was selected for the Patty Grace Smith Fellowship in 2021.
My next internship was at Boeing, St. Louis, working in model-based systems engineering for the MQ 25. It was virtual because of COVID at the time.
As a junior in the Fall of 2021, I worked and conducted research in the Aerothermodynamics Research and Technology Laboratory (ARTLAB) under Doctor Ruffin.
Starting in the Spring of 2022, I joined the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) in the quantum systems division while working at the ARTLAB and ROTC. During that summer, I returned to Boeing, St. Louis, and worked as an integration engineer intern in the same program.
When classes resumed, I returned to GTRI but worked in the systems Engineering research division and have been working there for the last two semesters. I was also still in ARTLAB this semester.
How did your educational experience at Georgia Tech help you to achieve your goals?
I learned how to take advantage of available opportunities, what I was capable of, and how to seek help. I was struggling and needed to find the right person to pivot me in the right direction to succeed. I owe a lot to Professor Griendling, who helped me when I struggled. She kept me on a vector check and helped me to find opportunities like the Georgia Space Grant Consortium, which led to my Patty Grace Smith Fellowship, and then the Boeing internship. Everything kind of cascades and builds your knowledge and skill. My education at Georgia Tech, key relationships, and internships propelled me in the right direction.
Additionally, my education here has really made me confident in my ability to work under pressure. I’ll use a balloon analogy, even though that may seem weird. In the beginning, the balloon is small, then when you blow it up, it expands. If you let the air out of the balloon is bigger than when it started. When you go to blow it up again, it can handle more air. After each experience, I expanded to handle more and different tasks. In the beginning, I couldn’t have handled everything I currently handle, such as managing a club, participating in ROTC, and conducting research simultaneously. I’ve expanded my ability to manage a lot of different tasks.
What advice would you give to an underclassman who would like to follow the same path?
Ask a lot of questions because one of the things I attribute to not just my success but my helping other people be successful is asking questions.
Be curious. Learn about all of the different research areas, labs, and research opportunities. I've told some friends to work at a lab if you're interested in that area. You should always be learning things. It never really ends. If you get too comfortable then you stop asking questions, and then you stop learning.