What's next?

What's next?
Atlanta, GA

They have studied theories that would have given Einstein a headache and they've pored over homework problems that took all night to decipher. Now - on December 11 and 12 - the final contingent of the Class of 2015 will graduate from GT-AE.

Caitlin S. Berrigan, BSAE '15

Next Adventure: I will be working as a flight control systems engineer at Textron Aviation in Wichita, Kansas. I'll also be earning my masters in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech through the Distance Learning program under the guidance of Dr. Prasad.

Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
My first internship was at an automotive company in Grasslake, Michigan. I got a lot of production quality experience there. I also did some research for Dr. Costello --basic testing of a new wind turbine - my sophomore year. Then, I got a call out of the blue from Sikorsky, asking if I wanted to do a summer internship. They had gotten my resume at one of the career fairs and my research experience made me stand out. I worked in their flight controls group, and from there, I got into research with Dr. Prasad.

What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?
I'm excited to be able to apply stuff I learned in class and from research. And Textron is a great company. They are sponsoring my graduate program and they are even helping me get my pilot's license. I'm fortunate. Not everyone gets what they want straight out of college, but I got the perfect job.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help you achieve your goal?
The professors - and everybody, really -- are so supportive. Once you get past the idea that you are 'just a student', you see that they are all willing to help you. And I mean really help you. I didn't know a thing about applying to grad school so I went to Dr. Jagoda. He didn't know me, but that didn't matter. He helped me. And I think that that's true for all of the professors I've met. No one's ever too busy to help you.

What advice would you give to underclassmen who would like to follow the same path?
Two things. One, do research. It's really important. Two, talk to a faculty or an academic advisor if you are freaking out over the work. At the end of my freshman year, I was thinking of transferring to ISYE because I just didn't think I could learn everything in the curriculum. I sent an email to Dr. Clarke, and he told me not to worry. He offered to give me some work in his lab. He even offered to Skype me so I could talk about it. That meant everything to me. And the thing is, he was returning my email at 2 in the morning. That's dedication.

Chelsea Fuller, BSAE '15

New Adventure: Aerodynamics engineer at the Boeing Company in St. Louis

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience?
I completed three co-ops at Sikorsky and an internship at Boeing last summer. The first one, in Connecticut, was doing rotorcraft design for Sikorsky, which was great. I learned a lot. The next two were in West Palm Beach, Florida, where I got to do flight testing. I loved that: if there was something wrong with your plane, you got to go down to the hangar and fix it. Then you get to see it fly. And that's why I got into aerospace - to see if fly.

Most looking forward to...
At Boeing I know that I'm going to be challenged and I like that. I think the projects I'll be working on will push the technology envelope beyond where I've been before, and that's exciting. Also, the company is so large that it seems like I might be able to work abroad at some point. It's nothing immediate and there are no guarantees, but it's possible. I have to figure out how to make it happen.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
Georgia Tech helps by attracting such important industry leaders to campus. The Career Services help you learn by exposing you to the field. I didn't really know Sikorsky until I went for an interview with them. And I learned so much from my time at Sikorsky.

Advice
I would advise anyone to intern or co-op. It's such a complement to your educational experience. Really invaluable. On your internships you see how the theories all play out and you're learning what kind of impact aerospace engineering has on the world.

Daniel C. Garmendia, Ph.D. AE '15

Next Adventure: After spending the last 12 years here at Georgia Tech, I am moving to Maryland to take a job with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. I will be the senior professional staff for a new team.

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
Over the course of my time at Georgia Tech and at ASDL [Aerospace Systems Design Lab] I worked on several projects that involved very different contractors. Support for my dissertation came from the NASA Graduate Student Research Project fellowship, out of Langley. I worked on the hybrid wing body aircraft, focusing on design optimization under control authority constraints.

Most looking forward to...
I've lived in Atlanta since 2003, so I'm itching to try out a new city. And, while I've gotten to do some great things as a post-doc at ASDL, I'm ready to shed the poor graduate student life.  Workwise, I'm getting to do something I haven't looked at for awhile - ballistic defense - which is also exciting.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
My undergraduate and graduate years at Georgia Tech really taught me to work hard and to put in the hours to get work done. There were a lot of late nights. My doctoral program taught me how to think for myself, define my own problems, and design new solutions. It was particularly helpful to have Dr. Mavris as my advisor, because he was personally aware of NASA's interest in the hybrid wing and he helped me to make that connection.

Advice
Throughout my time at Tech, I had a strong social network -- people I knew through the marching and concert band and through Kappa Kappa Psi, the service organization associated with the band. It makes the whole experience easier when you have people to turn to, to complain to, to get support. Especially during the Ph.D. It's such a grind. The other thing is, you should learn to be humbled, especially at the Ph.D. level because there's a lot of knowledge out there. You can't know it all. Passing a test on it is not the same as knowing it. 

Sean B. Chait, MSAE '15

New Adventure: Guidance navigation & control engineer for Orbital ATK in Virginia. I'll be working on Cygnus, their automated resupply vehicle that's used for the Space Station.

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience?
I've been doing research at Georgia Tech since my sophomore year, when I did large system optimization research with Dr. German. Later, I joined Dave Spencer 's team, where I did guidance navigation and served as the project manager for Prox 1. For the last six months, I've been working as an attitude determination and control engineer on the LightSail B project, designing the algorithms that control it and writing the flight software. With the support of the NASA Space Technology Research Fellow (NSTRF) program, I also did two summer research internships at NASA Marshall as a graduate student. Last summer I worked at Ball Aerospace in Colorado.

Most looking forward to...
There are two ways to go in my field - concept development and implementation. My biggest interest at this point is in implementation. I want to build the hardware on a spacecraft and see it fly. And that's what I'll be able to do.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
The coursework at GT-AE is very good, very rigorous. I mean you might complain as an undergraduate - I did - but you are getting the fundamentals that will allow you to be more effective in the long run. The other thing about AE is that you have access to a lot of hands-on research projects, like Prox 1, where you put your knowledge to the test. It's trial by fire, because sometimes you're off. But when you are applying for jobs, industry likes to see that you know how to bring your ideas to execution.

Advice
I would say that working on hands-on projects or applications -- either through research or through an extra curricular activity - is the way to go. It helps you to specialize, to figure out what you are really interested in doing and what you don't like. And having that experience, I believe, helped me get above the competition when I was applying for jobs.

Alejandro E. Trujillo, BSAE '15

Next Adventure: After I graduate, I have two internships lined up before I enter graduate school next fall. The first one is at NASA Huntsville, where I will work as a propulsion technology development engineer. The second is in LA, where I will be working as a build reliability engineer at SpaceX. These are the perfect fit for me, because I plan to follow a space track - either propulsion or mission operations - when I go to grad school.

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
I have worked a lot with Dr. Gunter. First, I worked with him on a team that put together a six-rotored drone that was equipped with Lidar imaging to produce 3D imaging. The second one is the RANGE project, a cubesat that his team is building. I've worked on the mission design team. I also did an internship at the Draper Lab in Houston, where they were adding higher fidelity aerodynamics to one of the navigation tools.

Most looking forward to...
I am definitely ready to get a feel for how all of the rigorous coursework and demanding research plays out in industry. These internships will introduce me to how it all gets incorporated on the job. With graduate school, I'm excited about taking my education to the next level, where I will be building things.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
I think a lot of students talk about how hard it is here -- the workload, the demands. I feel like that's the most important part. I won't have three exams in one day after I leave here, but I think those exams served their purpose. The work is hard so we are well-trained. The professors are doing it so we'll be prepared - not to torture us.

Advice
Get involved. I mean freshman year or as soon as possible. Even if you ask a professor to do research and they turn you down because you don't have the experience yet. You'll get experience asking. I know one thing: you won't get as far if you are just doing the homework.

Matthew J. LeVine, Ph.D AE '15

Next Adventure: I will be teaching aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech's Lorraine campus in France. I'm applying for post-doc positions now so that I can get some more teaching experience before I pursue other teaching jobs.

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
My doctoral research at ASDL was with the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Environment and Energy. I looked at the environmental impact of aviation on the fleet level, focusing on the noise contours around airports. There are lots of new engineering technologies and novel engine configurations that can impact the noise, emissions, and fuel burn. I worked with Dr. Kirby, the chief of the civil aviation division at ASDL, and the FAA. I also got involved with the [Georgia Tech] Center for Teaching & Learning (CETL) which is how the opportunity to teach in France became real.

Most looking forward to...
I'm very excited to go to France. It will be like the study-abroad semester that I didn't take as an undergraduatewith the only difference being: I think I'll appreciate it more now. I'm also looking forward to teaching the smaller classes at the GT-Lorraine campus. Beyond that, I am excited about exploring new problems as a post-doc.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
I earned a duel undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering and music from Georgia Tech and Emory. I went on to get my masters and doctorate here. Having said that, some of the best teachers I've ever had are the ones I've had at GT-AE. I've adopted some of their teaching methods and strategies. They put a lot of expectations on you - no one's rolling out the red carpet for you. But they also give you opportunities. Dr. Mavris gave me some great opportunities, and it was up to me to pursue them.

Advice
Don't be afraid to fail. That's one big problem in academia sometimes: students care too much about failing. What I've found is: you don't know what you don't know until you've failed trying. So speak up in class, go to office hours, put yourself out there. Because if you worry too much about how smart you appear, you'll never know what you're missing.

Matthew Owczarski, BSAE '15

Next Adventure: Quality Engineer at Lockheed Martin

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience?
I interned at Bell Helicopter for a semester.

Most looking forward to?
I am excited about being able to work up close with the C-130. I will be analyzing possible defects, minimizing their likelihood, reworking the parts and assemblies. Eventually, I'd like to move into their Engineering Leadership Development program, because I am really interested in trying different jobs.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
It's great to be a student at Georgia Tech because all of the biggest, most impressive companies come to our career fairs and reach out to our students with opportunities. I gained experience with interviewing before I had to ace an interview.

Advice
What they say about Georgia Tech is actually true. Sleep, work on your grades, or have a social life: you can only choose two. I chose grades and a social life. The sleep can happen later.

Sarah E. Dailey, BSAE '15

Next Adventure: Systems Engineer at Lockheed Martin, Sunnyvale, CA

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience?
I came in as a transfer from the University of North Georgia, so the time I could devote to outside internships was limited. Still, I interned at Lockheed Martin in Marietta through their structural engineering program and  I worked on the C-130. I also worked with Dr. Spencer doing day-in-the-life testing for Prox 1.

Most looking forward to...
To  be honest, I cannot wait to move to California. I'm already planning trips to the national parks. I'm also looking forward to working with Lockheed again, because my experience as an intern was so great. The company culture is supportive. My colleagues didn't look for shortcomings; they are always working for answers.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help? I like to think of myself as an organized person, but Tech forced me to take it up a notch. I got involved in extra extracurriculars - the Georgia Tech Dance Company and Tau Beta Pi - which helped me, as a transfer student, to find people to hang out with and to study with. But they also forced me to keep organized.

Advice
It's easy to get overwhelmed with all of the work and all of the things they want you to learn at Tech. Sometimes, you think "how can I learn all of that?" But you have to take a breath, think about the big picture and schedule yourself. What do you need to get done today? What project needs your attention now? Finals will come when finals come. Do your best today.

Alain "Paul" Nyamsi, BSAE '15

Next Adventure: In February, I will begin a full-time rotation as a senior management trainee at XBO Logistics in Chicago. That will allow me to work with different parts of the company, ultimately allowing me to join management. Right now, I'm working with them as a solutions engineer.

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
I worked with Prof. Prasad the CMAPSS 40K airplane engine. We are focusing on the high pressure turbine section. If you vary select parameters in the controller, you can extend the life of the engine.

Most looking forward to...
I am very excited about the variety of experiences I will have as a manager trainee at XBO. I will have rotations in very different parts of the company - finances, operations, engineering. And all of them will allow me to apply the critical thinking skills that I've developed as an engineer.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
Georgia Tech is very challenging, and that's why I came here. I had offers at other schools, but I knew that the only way you will improve, intellectually, is if you challenge yourself. And I knew Georgia Tech was the most challenging -- and that aerospace was very hard. I have worked at FedX while I've been at Georgia Tech. Sometimes, I get off the 2 a.m. - 9 a.m. shift and come straight to school, where I must train myself to focus on new material. It has made me stronger. I've learned to be more structured in my approach to problem-solving and to be better at managing my time. Every challenge has made me more marketable.

Advice
The most important thing is: know what you want to accomplish and put yourself in a position to achieve it. That's why I came to Georgia Tech: I wanted to put myself in the position to be successful. My father [Alain P. Nyamsi] has always told me that [life's] not about making excuses; it's about getting things done. Nothing great will be easy. Every time you are challenged, you will improve, so never shy away from challenges. I have found all of this to be true during my time at Georgia Tech.

Franklin "Drew" Turbeville, BSAE '15

Next Adventure: In January, I will go to Purdue University to begin work on my masters in aerospace engineering. I will be focusing on aerodynamics.

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
I had five co-op rotations at HEICO Aerospace  where I focused on new product development. I also did an internship at Gulfstream, working as a structural test engineer. And I did research with Dr. Hodges [structures],Dr. Sankar [aerodynamics], Dr. Komerath[aerodynamics] and Dr. Smith [aeroelasticity]. Each time I did research, I learned something new. Sometimes, it was that I didn't want to pursue that area of engineering. It just wasn't for me. When I did experimental research with Dr. Komerath, focusing on slung loads, I really liked it, so I continued. I also liked working on modeling the aerodynamics of hypersonic missiles with Dr. Smith.

Most looking forward to...
First and foremost, I have to say that my girlfriend, Amy Pierce, who is also a Tech grad
[BME '14] is already living in Indiana, so that makes the move a lot more attractive. I'm also excited because I'll be working on a Mach 6 wind tunnel. It'll be a unique experience.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
I think Tech challenges you to get out of your comfort zone. I came to Tech so focused on co-ops and I had no interest in research.  I was of the opinion, after high school, that I'd complete my undergraduate degree and that would be it. But once I started doing research, it led me in different directions. It led me to what I am doing now. And it's pretty exciting.

Advice
Especially for freshmen: don't be afraid to bite off more than you think you can chew. Get involved in building a rocket or designing a spacecraft. With a lot of the extra-curriculars, you can always back off if it doesn't fit, but you can't beat the experience.

Angelica M. Baker, BSAE '15

Next adventure: Mechanical Experimental Equipment Test Engineer, NASA

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

I was accepted into NASA's Pathway Internship program, so I did four semesters of co-ops at NASA Stennis.

Most looking forward to...
The fact that I will get to work on the test stand for adjusting the rockets for the SLS (Space Launch System). I will be in the control room.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help you achieve your goal?
My jet propulsion and thermodynamics classes -- they were tough, but they gave me a lot of good knowledge that I brought to my internships, and, now, my job. Also, senior design was excellent, because you have to learn how to present your ideas before people who can ask some tough questions.

Advice
Obviously, study hard. Also: apply for everything. That's what I did. NASA was my dream since I was in kindergarten, so I applied to every NASA internship I could find.

Benjamin L. GriselBSAE '15

Next Adventure: In December and January, I will travel through Europe. I plan to make a special visit to Norway, too. It's a place that has always interested me.  In October, I will begin the U.S. Army's Basic Officer Leadership Course in Fort Rucker Alabama. After that, the plan is to go to flight school where I will be training on CH 47 (Chinook) helicopters. I can't wait.

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
I participated in extra training that is sponsored by the Army. I did a parachute training class at Fort Benning and an air assault class, which is the Army's way of teaching you about helicopters. I got to repel out of a Black Hawk helicopter. That was cool. We also had a 12-mile ruck march...

Most looking forward to...
I'm looking forward to the first time I am able to fly by myself. I've been wanting to fly since I was a kid. I can't wait to take the controls.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
When I applied to the National Guard in Nebraska - which is where I'll be stationed - it took them two weeks to get back to me. [laughs] When they did, they said they were trying to figure out what was wrong with me. They don't unusually get candidates coming from such a prestigious school. It pretty much blew away the competition. Everything I learned here at Georgia Tech will give me the ability to deal with complications that come up when we're actually flying. For instance, in a helicopter, when you pull the cyclic left, you bank left. They'll tell everyone that in training, but I know why. So if something messes up, I'll know more about what we need to do.

Advice
Balance. You gotta have it. When I first got to Tech, I studied day-in, day-out. After awhile, I noticed my performance was slipping, because I wasn't motivated. I wasn't mountain biking or doing any of the physical activities that I love. That's when I decided I would plan to have a certain amount of free time each week. I would figure out how much time it took to get the work done for my classes, and then I would allot myself some time for fun. It was a little trial-and-error, of course, but it worked out great.

Ryan A. Quinn, BSAE '15

Next Adventure: A six-month internship at SpaceX in Hawthorne, CA, followed up by a doctoral program in space systems design. At SpaceX, I will be working as a vehicle engineer for payload fairing - that's the protective shell that goes over the spacecraft during its launch.

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience?
I came to Georgia Tech because I wanted the co-op and research experiences. My first internship was with Silicon Creations, a Suwanee-based semi-conductor company where I did software electronics testing. I did another internship as a structural engineer consultant at ATA Engineering in San Diego. There, I got to experience engineering from the perspectives of analysis, design, and testing. It was perfect. Last summer, I was a mechanical design engineer working on the robotics breaking and mobility systems of the Mars 2020 mission at JPL.  And, coming up, I'll be working at SpaceX. My research experience has also been spread out across very different projects. For instance, working with Dr. Rimoli, I published a conference paper in structural engineering. Working with a design team outside of AE, I helped redesign a refreshable Braille display that won an award. All of it, taken together, has given me a good grasp on systems engineering and confirms my decision to pursue space systems design in graduate school.

Most looking forward to...
I've always been interested in launch vehicles so getting experience [at SpaceX] designing a launch vehicle will be great. I'll be working for a company that is fast-paced and expects me to contribute.

As far as graduate school, I am looking forward to joining a team that will be building a small spacecraft. My senior design class introduced me to that, and I found it very exciting. I expect that that experience will prepare me well for wherever I go...JPL, SpaceX, or the NASA astronaut training program.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
Every opportunity I pursued at Georgia Tech prepared me to be successful with another opportunity. And the reason is that, if I did well in one area -- like research or an internship -- people always wanted to see me continue, to succeed. So when I finished with my ATA internship, someone there suggested I try JPL. And when I finished up with JPL, I was put in contact with SpaceX. The funny thing is, I had applied for an internship at SpaceX two years ago and failed the interview. The reason, I know, is that I wasn't ready, hadn't taken the right classes. This time, I'd done the work, and I was ready. I can't wait.

Advice
My experience is not unique. I pursued research and co-op opportunities that started out small, but became significant building blocks over time. So I would advise new students to jump in and start doing research and co-opping right away. Your experiences will grow more sophisticated and more influential over time.

Mark Mote, BSAE '15

Next Adventure: MS degree at GT-AE
Graduate Research Assistantship with Dr. Eric Feron.Under the auspices of an NSF grant, we will be building a fully networked robotics lab here at Georgia Tech.

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience?
I've done research with Dr. Prasad, and also with Dr. Feron. I also did an internship at ISAE Ensma in France last summer.

Most looking forward to?
I'm excited about doing something that's never been done before, and about being able to really exercise creativity in my research. As an undergraduate, you are judged by the quantity of the information you take in. In graduate school, it's the quality of the ideas you produce. In my graduate program, I'll be able to see the full depth of the subjects that interest me.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
It was all about being surrounded by the right people. The students, the internship, the research -- they all gave me an opportunity to push myself.

Advice
Start looking for research opportunities early, and don't do it just because you think it will look good on your resume. Find that subject that you are really interested in and then find someone who is just as passionate about pursuing it as well.

Nikolaus L. Thorell, MSAE '15

Next Adventure: I've enrolled in language school in the Swiss Alps so that I can become fully bilingual. After I finish, I will return to the United States to work in systems engineering.

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
My graduate research has been with Dr. Komerath. I have assisted him with work on the reverse flow of the retreating rotor blades and also on slung loads and divergent speeds. My own research has focused on vortex flow over a highly swept delta wing. I completed a summer co-op at NASA Ames, too.

Most looking forward to...
I am excited about pursuing French, which I learned in high school but have not pursued since then. I think becoming bilingual will give me a more wide-ranging perspective on lots of things, including how I tackle engineering problems. It's not just learning a language, but, also, learning another way to think and speak about the world. I am also really look forward to doing systems engineering because you can apply it to solve any problem. I won't be pigeon-holed by it.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
When I was looking for graduate programs, I did a search for the top schools in fluid mechanics and refined my search for experimental work. Georgia Tech was the top of the list. It was a great choice. Georgia Tech has given me a better sense of the big picture. In experimental work, which I've done here, you get to design, refine, run, and analyze your own tests, which means you really have to understand how everything works.

Advice
I would say that the most important advice is to know what your priorities are at any given time. Then, if something comes along that you would otherwise miss, you'll take advantage of it. You never know if you'll get another chance. I took advantage of doing a co-op at NASA Ames. I am glad I did experimental work at Georgia Tech. And, right now, I am glad that there's an opening in my life so that I can study another language and culture before I go into the workforce.

Tanish Himani, BSAE '15

Next Adventure: Joining the lab of Dr. E. Glenn Lightseyas a graduate student.

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience?
I interned at the Jacobs ESSA Group in Huntsville, where I did data reviews of hot-fire RS-25 rocket engines.

Most looking forward to...
It will be great to work with someone with as much experience as Dr. Lightsey, working on real satellites - from concept to execution. Satellites can do a lot of good science without requiring a super-huge budget.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
The coursework is really challenging. If you can handle the coursework here, you can handle anything they throw at you in the real world. Also, I got so much out of my orbital mechanics class, with Professor Spencer. He has a ton of experience -- with NASA and JPL - so when he explained something, he could tell you how the theory goes and how it actually works.

Advice
Find out what you are passionate about and work it from every angle. Don't stop at what you learn in class. Find other problems, create new code, or find other applications that will help you understand the concept. You can sleep after you graduate.

Michael Staab, MSAE'15

Next Adventure: Spacecraft Operations Engineer for Cassini Mission, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience?
I did work with Dr. Mavris focusing on manufacturing influences on the cost of producing launch vehicles. A lot of the materials that will be used in future launch vehicles are new, lighter, composites that haven't been used  before. We looked at manufacturing data to make some cost predictions.

Most looking forward to...
I'll be working in the spacecraft operations center for Cassini, which will be really neat because not many people get to do that. In fact, I'll be one of just four people in the world who will be capable of flying the Cassini spacecraft. That project will be finished in 2017, when Cassini is scheduled to burn up. Then I'm looking at Mars 2020 or the Europa Mission to Jupiter...all of this will put me in the right place if I ever get the opportunity to be an astronaut.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
I had an awesome undergraduate experience in Kansas, but I can truly say that when I came to graduate school at Georgia Tech it was a completely different atmosphere. It was far more rigorous. I learned how to manage multiple projects. They pushed me to see how much I was really capable of doing without imploding. (Laughs). I think most people don't get a chance to get pushed that hard in life.

Advice
Academics are good, but you have got to get out and do extracurriculars, get involved. I was one of the founding members of the K-17 [rocket] project, a member of the Triathlon Club, a Graduate Senator, and a member of AIAA. It all shaped me. Academics can only take you so far -- and the academics do push you at Tech -- but if you want to succeed, you have to get your hands dirty. You have to get out there and design things.

Ryan Gibbons, BSAE'15

Next Adventure: In February, I will report to the Naval Air Station at Pensacola, Florida to begin flight school. That will give me broad training on flying military jets. After 2 years, I will be sent to squadron where I will get trained on a specific vehicle. In my case, that's an FA-18.

Previous co-op, internship, or research experience?
Because I knew I wanted to pursue flight school, I attended summer programs sponsored by the Navy.  

Most looking forward to...
That's easy: I've been dying to fly jets since I was a little guy. And, now, the government will pay for me to learn. It's a dream come true.

How did your educational experience at GT-AE help?
The classes I've taken in AE are more in-depth than what they will teach us in flight school, because, there, they'll have to explain aerodynamics to history majors. That will help me, some. But what really helps is the fact that Georgia Tech really taught me how to study and how to work hard. Work ethic will take me a long way.

Advice
Don't get discouraged. Work hard. Do what it takes. When I came to Georgia Tech I thought I was pretty smart, but the difficulty of the material took me by surprise. My first semester I did pretty poorly. So I got tutors, worked harder, and spent more time on the material. Over time, the school changed my entire mindset. I started out taking everything at face value, and no further. I did the homework, learned the equations, and memorized what was in front of me. But over time, I started questioning what I saw. I wanted to try different numbers, test different equations, and to use what I'd learned to come up with new solutions. I started thinking like an engineer. That's the best way to put it. And it didn't come over night.

Media

<p><em>They have studied theories that would have given Einstein a headache and they've pored over homework problems that took all night to decipher. Now - on December 11 and 12 - the final contingent of the Class of 2015 will graduate from GT-AE. </em><em><br /></em></p><p><em>Before they grab that sheepskin and run, we asked a random sampling of them: what's next?</em></p>
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