What is your next adventure?
I'll be staying here at Georgia Tech to complete my master’s and Ph.D. in aerospace engineering. I'll be working under Professor Joseph Oefelein on computational fluid dynamics. So that's the plan starting in spring. I was a part of the BS/MS program as an undergrad, so I'm already in the master's program and must complete qualifying exams and things. I'll also be doing a graduate research assistantship.
What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?
Independence and control over the project that I'll be working on. It's always been great to work with graduate students and my advisors; they give me a lot of knowledge, and I’ve learned a lot. But at the same time, I'm excited to be able to have more individual research experience. I've been doing research for almost my entire undergrad career. I've always really enjoyed getting the opportunity to look into new topics and do a deep dive into some of those topics of special interest.
Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
I have been interning at NASA Langley Research Center remotely since fall 2020, doing computation fluid dynamics (CFD). I get to work with various NASA employees, and it’s been a great experience. It’s a huge part of the reason why I'm even pursuing a Ph.D.
I’m also working in my current research lab, Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics with Dr. Joseph Oefelein in fluid dynamics and specifically high-speed computation fluid dynamics (CFD). These high-speed flows are things that you might see in an engine or on the wing surface of a supersonic jet.
At Georgia Tech, there's actually a really cool intersection between what I’m doing at Tech and the work that I'm doing at NASA because they're all physics modeling,
How did your educational experience at Georgia Tech help you to achieve your goals?
It all started in the second semester of freshman year. I was freaking out because I didn't have any experience. So, I reached out to professors for research. I took different research opportunities, and it helped me figure out the research I liked. I ended up being in three research labs that summer, which I don't recommend, but they were all so different. Due to that, I was able to explore more fields within aerospace. Georgia Tech’s robust aerospace engineering program is one of its biggest strengths.
What advice would you give to an underclassman who would like to follow the same path?
Early in your undergraduate career, reach out to as many professors as you can, even going to their office hours to talk about their research to get an idea of what you can do in aerospace. When I came to Georgia Tech, I wanted to do spacecraft and work at NASA or SpaceX. I didn't even realize that computational fluid dynamics was a thing. There are so many different subfields within aerospace that people don't even know until they are here. I thought I didn’t what to do anything related to computers or computer science. I didn’t know how to program, but I’m doing something that is literally computational fluid dynamics. And I don't think I would have had that experience if I had just been like, I'm going to only apply to things that are spacecraft related. Try several things. You don't have to try it for long. While I was an undergrad, I would try something new and not like it. I would feel bad because of the invested time, but in reality, I was learning skills along the way.