Warner Robins, GA
Houston County High School
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering
Double Dawgs, Masters in Mechanical Engineering
What is your favorite thing about being a student at UGA?
“My favorite thing about being a student at UGA is meeting the vast number of people of different backgrounds and majors, both students and professors. It’s always fun to learn about what everyone’s doing and what their goals are, and it’s a great opportunity to make new friends. I also like participating in all the various activities around campus both relating to major and outside of it. These include Homecoming Week, E-week, movies, workshops, employer events, and club activities. There’s always something for everyone at UGA.”
Why did you choose engineering?
“I’ve always wanted to be an engineer since I was very young. I was always fascinated by machines and how they worked. But, my greatest inspiration for wanting to become an engineer was my father. He used to work as an engineer at the U.S. Air Force Base in Warner Robins. He taught me about what he did as an engineer and introduced me to what engineering was. He inspired me to work hard to achieve my goals and become just like him.”
What has been the greatest challenge you have faced while at UGA, and how did you overcome it?
“My greatest challenge was getting work experience outside of the classroom. While I do believe that grades are still very important, I know that prospective employers tend to pay more attention to internships, co-ops, research, part time jobs, and other kinds of real work experience. What I did, starting from freshman year, was attend all the career fairs to find an internship. At the same time, I visited different clubs around campus to see what they could offer and what I could provide. I joined a few and got a chance to work on many projects and meet new people. The main club that I chose to stay with was the Student Aerospace Initiative or SAI. Eventually, I did succeed in landing an internship over the summer after multiple interviews with different companies. And, finally, I was able to obtain a position in the Small Satellite Research Lab or SSRL after multiple interviews across many semesters. Looking back, I started with almost nothing, yet I was able to accomplish many things I never thought were possible. It took a few years, a lot of practice, rejections, and even a pandemic, but in the end I was able to overcome each of these challenges through hard work, trying again, and never giving up.”
What have you learned (or are learning) that has made a difference for you?
“I have learned that working in groups is a big help to both me and others that I am working with. When studying for exams, I’ll work with other students to complete practice problems together, explain solutions to problems, and answer everyone’s questions. For projects in both classes and clubs, group projects ranging from 1 to 5 other students help us learn not just the material or win a competition, but also learn more about each other. Whether it takes place in a library, a classroom, a lab, or even virtually online, working together allows us to collectively become better engineers and helps to prepare us for the real world.”
What/Who has helped you become a successful student here at UGA?
“I would like to thank all of my friends who I have met over the years including those I met in clubs like SAI, friends I made in my engineering classes, friends I made in non-engineering classes, friends I made out of class, the people at my summer internship, SSRL, and even a few professors. All of them have contributed to my success here as they continue to inspire me. I see and learn about their successes and their accomplishments and their goals and dreams. They continue to remind me of why I work hard everyday. They inspire me to improve myself each and every day to become the best me that I can be.”
Can you describe your research in a few sentences?
“As a member of the Small Satellite Research Lab, I am part of the Mechanical Team for SSRL’s newest cube satellite, the Multi-view Onboard Computational Imager, or MOCI. My research involves using computer software to perform various structural analyses on the satellite to determine how well it will perform in outer space. These include Modal Analysis, Random Vibration Testing, and Inertial Acceleration Testing.”
Why did you choose your research area?
“Several of my closest friends, colleagues, and professors recommended that I apply and work for this organization. A few of them who were also in SSRL explained the significance of this Research Lab and what I could provide. Also, I have always been interested in aerospace. I like to read about both the history of the aerospace industry and its recent technological developments. Joining SSRL allows me to become part of both. My work will hopefully go on to advance the current development of aerospace technology and inspire others to fulfill their own goals of doing work in aerospace.”
What is your favorite spot on campus and why?
“My favorite spot on campus is the Student Aerospace Initiative’s Private Workspace located in the Driftmier Annex. Me along with several other members of SAI helped to make this workspace our own, and it’s definitely become a secondary home for me. From finishing assignments and homeworks for class, to zoom meetings, and SAI projects, it’s a place you can easily find me.”
What is your favorite restaurant in Athens?
“It’s hard to pick favorites when you have so many interesting restaurants in one city. One of my recent favorites is Pauley’s Crepe Bar. It’s located right in downtown, so it’s pretty easy to get to from campus, and I like crepes a lot!”
Favorite class at UGA?
“To me, the one class that will always stand out was the Small Satellites Elective course. It taught me not just about the SSRL program at UGA and general aerospace information but also what the aerospace industry is like, how to work and think like people from the industry and how to create an Industry Level project proposal that could genuinely become something I design in the future. Several runner up classes that I also enjoyed include Manufacturing, Hydraulics, and Capstone all of which were very hands on and provided me with very excellent insight into the world of engineering.”
Best memory at UGA so far?
“Last spring, I and several of my SAI friends embarked on our biggest project yet: the NAR certification. For this project, we would each be tasked with building a large, five-foot tall, solid-fueled rocket designed to reach altitudes of 1700 feet. After spending much of the spring semester building our rockets, helping each other out, and consulting with experts, we drove down to an NAR Rocket event in South Carolina in early May. There, all 10 of us who showed up flew each of our rockets, all of which flew flawlessly and all were recovered. As a result, all 10 of us received our NAR Level certification. With a 10 out of 10 success rate, this is the most successful moment in our club’s history and really the most successful moment in my history.”
What advice do you have for younger students who wish to pursue engineering?
First, I would tell younger students to talk to other engineering students and engineering professors to know what engineering is like and all the tips and tricks needed to be a successful engineering student. Second, I would tell them to never give up. Engineering may be one of the most difficult and time consuming professions out there, but after 4 years of college, I can definitely say it was all worth it. The amount of satisfaction I get from being an engineer is directly correlated to the amount of work I put into it.
How do you hope to impact society with your engineering degree?
I hope to use my engineering degree to further advance the current state of aerospace technology. I could design more fuel efficient aircraft that create far less emissions. I could design reusable spacecraft that require less resources, money, and time for each launch. I could even design the technology that could one day help humanity return to the moon and visit other planets. The possibilities are endless.