Former ISU student Chad Smith (BS, AerE 2004) visited campus on March 26 and lectured two of Professor Dale Chimenti’s Astrodynamics classes. Chad graduated from ISU with a strong interest in astrodynamics, and he landed a coveted position at NASA-JPL, where he worked for two years in the Mission Planning Department for inner planets. Much of his work during this period was concentrated on missions to Mars. Realizing the need for advanced training, Chad enrolled in the graduate aerospace program at the University of Texas at Austin, finishing with a MS and a concentration in astrodynamics. From there, he saw his career taking a different turn. He won a highly competitive position in the class of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. This spring, Chad will earn his MBA and Masters of Engineering Management from NWU. He will move from Chicago to Dallas to take up a management position with American Airlines. He tells us his interest in astrodynamical problems will always remain, and he does not rule out moving back into that zone at some later time.
He talked to Dr Chimenti’s classes about college, finding employment, working at your first job, tackling astrodynamics problems in the professional environment, finding your own way, and deciding what’s best for you. He spoke about his career choices and the decision to move into management. His presentations were met with high interest and questions by students in AerE 351 and AerE 451. No one can connect with students like a recent graduate who has achieved the success they seek. Thanks, Chad, for making the trip to Ames.