What is your next adventure?
I'm coming back for graduate school, possibly to get a Ph.D. I'll be working in the Aerospace Systems Design Lab with Dr. Mavris, most likely in space and defense systems engineering.
What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?
I never thought I'd want to continue learning as much as I do now. I don't think I'll ever be able to learn enough, but a Ph.D. will be a good beginning.
I am excited to see what else I can do within aerospace engineering, especially getting the chance to work on bigger picture areas instead of individual subsystems that are just parts of the whole.
Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?
I interned at GTRI working on a project where we were modeling and simulating swarms of UAVs. The goal was to create efficient, economical, and well-working systems so UAVs could visit challenging environments, using sensors to survey the area, and return with the information for analysis. My whole summer was spent making decisions about which sensors, which UAVs, how many UAVs, and what type of swarm would make an optimal arrangement. I also work in the Space Systems Design Lab (SSDL) on a supersonic parachute dynamics project where we used NASA data in a transonic wind tunnel test to figure out which data sets offered the most stable dynamics so we could design a stable parachute. I also worked with Dr. Lightsey on developing a calibration device that we will eventually use on a test stand for a thruster. It looks like a hammer. It is designed to deliver pulsed movements that we will vary for calibration of the test stand.
How did your educational experience at Georgia Tech help you to achieve your goals?
I've had a really good support system at Tech, probably because I've spread it out. I've worked as a tour guide, a peer leader, and have been a member of Alpha Xi Delta, a sorority that helped me to not devote my whole life to work. At GTRI, I worked with a really intelligent grad student, someone with whom I shared a lot of similarities in terms of knowledge and competence. I became very close to her, almost as a mentor, and what this did was it gave me confidence. I saw her do well and get a job. And that made me realize that I could also do well and get a job in this field, too. They say it's important to get a mentor, and I used to think that was just a lot of words, but it's true.
What advice would you give to an underclassman who would like to follow the same path?
I really think people should not doubt themselves. It's important to go into a challenge with confidence. There are so many things I got through because I worked hard. It's not in my nature to give up, and that kept me going until I saw I could do it. I know that at Tech it is sometimes hard to become motivated, but hard work is the answer.
Don't let fear of failure stop you from trying. There were multiple times where I got a test and I didn't know how to do a single problem. But then, I'd start looking at it, and I'd start realizing that I could work my way through it. On my first final exams, I was convinced I'd failed everything. But I didn't.