What is your next adventure?
Right after graduation, some friends and I will be doing a charity car rally, driving from London to Mongolia to raise money for health care outreach and educational programs for students. After that, I’ve got a choice: either start grad school at the University of Colorado at Boulder where I’ll be studying remote sensing
As far as the first part goes: the road trip takes about a month, but we’ve built in a month-and-a-half just in case something goes wrong. Some friends had done a similar fund raiser before, but we decided to do it a little differently. We are investing in a vehicle that will be able to carry us all for the trip, but will also be donated to the cause at the end. So, instead of paying to ship it home, we’ll be giving it to a local organization to use for health care outreach.
instrumentation or begin working at Ball Aerospace where I’ll work as an integration and testing engineer.
Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
For a little over a year, I have worked at GTRI in the electrical systems lab readying proposals for different DOD-involved projects. I also co-opped at Lockheed Martin, where I worked on the C-130—going to the production floors so we could see what we had to do to create an effective trouble-shooting system for aircraft maintenance. If we can more efficiently fix and re-integrate them into the aircraft, we can save time and money. Walking around the plane, talking to the mechanics, we were able to save a lot more than I had ever imagined.
What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?
All my life, I’ve lived within a 30-mile radius of my home [Lawrenceville]. Everything I’m about to do will bring me into new environments where I’ll meet new people and take on new challenges. If I go to Ball [Aerospace] it will be cool because a lot of the stuff I’ll be doing will be stuff I’ve grown to love at Georgia Tech – like mission architecture. If I go to CU, I’ll increase what I know about the science that underlies aerospace engineering. That will help me to be a more effective aerospace engineer. I’ve always enjoyed adventures where I’ll be tested and that’s what I anticipate with my near-term plans. This may be the last time in my life where I’ll be able to go on this sort of adventure without other responsibilities.
How did your educational experience at Georgia Tech help you to achieve your goal?
The biggest thing is that Georgia Tech is a very demanding school. It pushes you to develop abilities you didn’t know you had. I always had to be ready to do the best I was capable of - It didn’t matter if it was early morning or late at night. Preparedness was no accident. The other thing is the faculty mentors I had were very accessible. I could go to them with questions I was having and they had answers that really helped. The faculty know you in class and they also know the real word so they are great to go to for wisdom.
What advice would you give to an underclassman who would like to follow the same path?
A lot of things are possible at Tech if you put in the work. I’m not extraordinarily smart, so it wouldn’t be impossible to do what I’ve done or to do better if you make use of the resources that are available. If you go into a challenge committed to doing your best, then even if you don’t do well, you will do better than if you had just given up. That’s a net gain.
The other thing I would say is to make all of the connections you can – in your classes, on your internships, in your interviews. I feel like I know everyone in my classes and it feels good to be with people who know me, too. When I went to job fairs, I’d always come back and email the people I’d met. People appreciate the follow-up.