Fourth-year aerospace engineering undergraduate Matthew Corrado has been selected to receive the 2019 Wernher von Braun Scholarship by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
The Cortland Manor, New York native says the $5000 scholarship will help him to achieve his career goal of becoming a leader in the commercial space industry. He's already put a down payment on that dream, with internships at NASA, SpaceX and the Aerospace Corporation and two years of undergraduate research on thermal effects and fluid dynamics in the High Power Electric Propulsion Lab under the tutelage of Prof. Mitchell L.R. Walker. As an AE Honors Student, Corrado is on track for earning a master's degree at the AE School, but he's open to going further, if a doctoral degree makes sense.
"I understand that my career goals are imposing, but with the proper preparation I realize that I’m capable of putting myself on the correct trajectory to achieve them," he said. "If I want to become a leader in the commercial space sector of the aerospace industry, I need to challenge myself with a demanding academic program, and then I need to translate that knowledge into a meaningful professional experience."
Corrado said his many internship experiences have helped him to solidify his career objectives. At NASA Glenn he used model-based systems engineering (MBSE) to work on a solar electric propulsion project. At the Aerospace Corporation, he did launch reliability studies for vehicles, and at SpaceX he was on the thermal and fluid analysis team.
"I plan to emerge from academia prepared to fight in support of commercial space programs," he said. But that doesn't mean he's planning to jump in the first commuter rocket to the moon.
"I would love to be in space, but I'm not sure about launching. I'm not that kind of thrill-seeker.I'd get a thrill being in a relaxed state observing the Earth from outer space."