“I started college with involvement in the Society of Women Engineers and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which allowed me to meet other students in the college and develop engineering experience and professional skills….”
Name: Celena Michaud
Hometown: Marietta, Georgia
Year: 5th year
Program of study: B.S. Computer Systems Engineering, Computer Science minor
Why did you choose UGA?
I came to UGA because of its strong academic reputation, and I’ve remained here because of the wonderful community I found in the College of Engineering. The genuine kindness and support I have experienced among my peers and our faculty has been nothing short of incredible.
When did you become interested in engineering?
I chose my major because I was curious about how computers worked on both the hardware and software level, and I knew studying computer systems would help me fulfill my mission to spend my career addressing challenges impactful to our world.
“After graduation, I will be working as an instrumentation engineer at Avalanche Energy, which is a nuclear fusion startup in Seattle, Washington. I will be working with the sensors and systems used to monitor their fusion experiments, and I’m very excited to get started!”
Are you involved in any student clubs or organizations, and what are your experiences with this?
I started college with involvement in the Society of Women Engineers and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which allowed me to meet other students in the college and develop engineering experience and professional skills. In my second year, I began serving as a Student Ambassador to the College of Engineering, which has since allowed me to represent the program I am so passionate about in a variety of ways including being part of impactful conversations with our current students and faculty, thanking our college’s sponsors and corporate partners, and welcoming prospective students and their families to Driftmier and UGA.
Have you learned anything new about yourself during your time at UGA?
I’m amazed by how much I have grown and the things I have learned during my time at UGA. I think the most important things I’ve learned about myself are my style of leadership and how to communicate effectively with others in both academic and professional settings.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I will be working as an instrumentation engineer at Avalanche Energy, which is a nuclear fusion startup in Seattle, Washington. I will be working with the sensors and systems used to monitor their fusion experiments, and I’m very excited to get started!
You did an intership during your studies in Engineering, who was this with and can you tell us more?
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation (co-op) in Savannah, Georgia. I completed five co-op rotations during my degree. I supported the development and certification of avionics and flight controls systems for the G650, G600, and G700 programs, I worked in real-time flight simulation laboratories, I designed specialized experimental instrumentation for drones to support G700 certification, and I helped work on new technologies in artificial intelligence and virtual reality on the preliminary design team.
What was the most interesting thing you did during your internship?
The most interesting thing I did was fly in the jump seat on the first G650 ever made! That was the opportunity of a lifetime that I will never forget.
What did you learn during your internship and how do you plan to use that knowledge as you continue with your engineering education.
I learned countless lessons during my co-op rotations. One of the most important lessons was to make meaningful connections with my coworkers, not just for professional reasons but because those friendships helped make my experience more impactful for me and for the company. The second big lesson for me was finding my passion for instrumentation through my rotation in Flight Test Instrumentation; to me, it was the best example of putting my systems engineering knowledge to work by integrating sensors and software into a much larger design project.
What motivates you?
Above everything, I am motivated by my desire to try my best to learn so I can better help others. I try to see every course I’ve taken as an opportunity to learn something, not just to make a grade. If you try your best to truly understand a topic, the grades will usually follow, and I hope that the more I understand, the better I will be at solving problems to help others.
What positive difference in the world do you hope to make through engineering?
Even though I’m studying computer systems engineering, I hope to make contributions towards sustainability. Through my upcoming role at Avalanche, I’ll be using my knowledge of sensors to help research and develop this source of energy that can change the world by it’s ability to reduce carbon emissions and provide a net gain in energy produced.
What hobbies and activities do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy running and exercising, and I also enjoy the creativity of cooking. I think the activities balance each other out pretty well!