Sanjana Tewathia

B.S.A.E. 2020

What is your next adventure?

Right now, I am still on target for doing an internship at Ball Aerospace in Colorado. It's part of the Brooke Owens Fellowship, and, right now, though I am in Princeton, New Jersey, I plan to move out to Colorado in June to start that. After the summer, I will be pursuing my master's degree at the University of Colorado, Boulder. I'll be focusing on autonomous systems.

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

I am really excited to be going to Colorado. I love the city of Atlanta, but I also love the outdoors and Colorado is a beautiful state. I also think Colorado is a great hub for the industry, so I'm excited about building my network there.

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

In the summer after my freshman year, in 2017, I started working in the Space Systems Design Lab (SSDL) where I worked on the T.A.R.G.I.T mission. I've been there for the last 3 years working on different subteams to get a variety of experience, and it's been great. I've worked on the mechanical design group, the computing team. And I've helped to develop] software and electronics for the satellite. Because we have the Maker Space and the Machine Shop in the AE School, we've been able to make components, which is also amazing.

In the fall of my sophomore year, I did an internship at GE Aviation in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was on the support and diagnostic teams, running alerts for two engines the GE90 and the GP7200. I loved my team and the company was great.

This summer, I will be a Brooke Owens Fellow, working at Ball Aerospace.

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

I think the AE options courses helped me to learn my subject matter in more depth. They gave me a competitive interdisciplinary skill set, exposure to the full breadth of the discipline, and allowed me to pursue a computer science minor, which I loved doing. The extra-curriculars, like my involvement in Sigma Gamma Tau, strengthened my mentoring and organizing skills. I have been a teaching assistant for the College of Computing and I wanted to start the same thing in AE, where we would have undergraduate teaching assistant. We were able to start that, and it's only going to get better. With the Women of Aeronautics and Astronautics (WoAA), I was able to do a training workshop in the AE Machine Shop, run for and by women. It was so great to see more women using the equipment.

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

In addition to classes, pick up something on the outside - like the Aero Maker Space or a student organization -so you can get some hands-on experience. It's helpful for showing companies a list of skills that you developed in a research lab or in a maker space, where you applied what you learned.

The second thing is, find an AE support group - sooner than later. For me, it wasn't until I did the AE Study Abroad program in Limerick [Ireland] that I learned how to become that person who pulls together the class 'GroupMe' app. We all have questions before tests, so it made sense that we connect. You want to know who you can work with, because you will be working with your classmates. By your third year, you are going to know everyone anyway. It makes sense to connect before then.

Another thing: 'Don't be afraid to figure out what you like and don't like. And change, if it makes sense.' There is so much pressure at Tech to get things 'right' - to find the right internship, the right job, the right research position. But your first job after you leave Tech won't be your last one, so it's better to get comfortable with changing your experience. You might start your career in a huge company but maybe you really want to be in a small start-up. Get good at listening for the cues.

And maybe the number one thing is: know your options for taking courses while you are at Tech. A lot of us get that flow chart our freshman year and we don't look at it again for a while. But the thing is, your time goes by so quickly, and you have to meet certain requirements. You don't want to look back at your time and think, 'Oh, I would love to have taken that course or earned a minor in that subject.'