What is your next adventure? I am going to come back to Georgia Tech to complete my PhD in aerospace engineering, working with Dr. Walker in the High-Power Electric Propulsion Lab. This summer, I will be working an internship with L3 Electron Technologies, Inc. in L.A. to develop gridded ion thrusters.
What are you most looking forward to in your next adventure? The freedom to research that a PhD student has. I want to dig into problems that have not been solved. I'll have more freedom and control to find something I love and research it.
Do you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area? I co-opped four terms at ATA Engineering - twice in San Diego and twice in Denver. I used finite element analysis to work on a variety of projects, ranging from NASA’s Space Launch System and James Webb Space Telescope to earthquake certification of oil rigs. Research-wise, I worked with the ASDL on the Aegis ballistic missile defense system for the Department of the Navy. For the last two years I've worked with Dr. Walker.
What about your educational experience at GT-AE helped you to achieve your goals? When I first came to Tech, I was an IE major, but I switched to AE after I talked to AE majors. I could tell they had a lot of excitement for the research they were doing, and I wanted that excitement. My previous major choice was a little short-sighted. I just wanted to make money and I thought that was the quickest way to do it. But at Tech I saw that it is much better to pursue what you are passionate about. That's when I switched to AE, and I'm glad I did. I've had amazing work experiences, and research.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to follow in your path? It's important to know what you want to do, so the most important thing to do is to get involved. Research. Co-ops. Competitions. You want to see all parts of the field. Two years ago, I didn't even know electric propulsion existed. Now I'm going to graduate school to study it. I wouldn't be in this field today had I not put myself out there.