Kojo Bekoe-Sakyi

B.S.A.E. 2023

What is your next adventure? 
I want to have a creative career, so I’ve applied to the Georgia Tech School of Industrial Design. I want to pursue my master's in industrial design so I’ll have more flexibility to make things.

What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?
I’m most excited about exploration. My mindset is to be open to anything. Also, just learning new skills and honing the ability to bring something from my head to physical existence will be really cool. I'm also looking forward to learning a lot more about manufacturing and what goes into making a lot of the things we use on a regular basis. I want to calculate and design theoretically and then create a real product.

Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
The summer of 2021 was my first internship through the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship. I worked at Airbus' US Space and Defense in Arlington, Virginia. It was during the pandemic, and things were mainly remote, but it was a really good experience, connecting what I did in the classroom to an actual problem and solving it. I used the first principles that I learned in class to come up with a completed project. I presented it to the company, saying here's something that I did to make your life easier, which was a really cool experience for me.

I also did an internship at Hermeus Corporation in Atlanta in the spring of 2022. I was on the structures team and worked on designing the wing leading edge for their hypersonic test bed vehicle. That was where I discovered that I really liked design and the design process because it was a lot of CAD, iteration, and explaining why things looked the way they looked. It also required having the first principles reasoning to support the aesthetics of the vehicle that they wanted to keep intact as much as they could. It was a really good challenge for me, but it also made me realize how much I actually like balancing engineering with how things look. That's when I started my minor in industrial design after that internship.

In fall of 2022, I conducted research with the Air Force Propulsion Outreach Program through the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL). It was another two-semester design process of modifying a small gas turbine engine, and we were making modifications to it to not only increase the thrust-to-weight ratio but also to generate a certain amount of electrical power for two minutes. It taught me a lot about teamwork. It also showed me how easy it is to mess things up and how to learn from mistakes and failures. I learned some big lessons from that research project, and it also reinforced my decision to follow my path toward the design route.

How did your educational experience at Georgia Tech help you to achieve your goals?
Georgia Tech boosted my confidence in my ability to learn. Every internship and project that I was on outside of Georgia Tech, there was a huge learning curve, and every time I thought, I don't know if I can do this, but then the Georgia Tech in me would kick into gear. I would learn what I needed to know to move forward. My Georgia Tech experience really helped me not to count myself out or sell myself short, but have the confidence to at least try and yeah, see where it goes. My experience at Georgia Tech really taught me how to learn and how to learn fast.

What advice would you give to an underclassman who would like to follow the same path?
Engineering is very much a team sport, and a lot of the problems that we will solve once we leave will be with a team of other people. Be a good teammate.  If you're not the smartest person in the room, be the kindest person in the room. Kindness opens a lot of doors that you don't think would be available to you. People are more willing to help you handle what they're giving you because of how you treat them. Being genuinely kind to people is one way that will always set you up for success and will never come back void. Even before being a great engineer, make sure you're a great person and that can look a lot of different ways.