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 undergraduate, with 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.
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.