College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Jake Harry: Combining an interest of math with engineering to ultimately help others

Aerospace engineering senior says being engaged in and outside of classroom shaped his adventure at Iowa State

Jake Harry
Jake Harry

Sometimes things are meant to go together. For Jake Harry, a senior in aerospace engineering, that serendipity was applying his math skills in an engineering field. “I’ve always enjoyed using math to build something useful and help other people. Now, I can use engineering in the real world to determine the best answer to important problems,” he said.

Once he was at Iowa State and knew engineering was his future, he began looking for research and work opportunities. That’s when he learned about the Asteroid Deflection Research Center and the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation, where he  enhanced his learning for two years. Through his work with both centers, Harry won a national Goldwater Scholarship and interned at NASA.

He says those experiences affected his next big decision in his life—going to graduate school at Purdue next fall to continue studying aerospace engineering. His ultimate goal is to work in the private space industry.

Before graduating with honors this spring, Harry says he still wants to inspire other students at Iowa State. He advises freshmen, “Get involved early. It’s important to figure out what you don’t like. I’ve done a lot of things and haven’t liked all of them. I’m closer to knowing what I like because I am so involved.”

Harry’s favorite activity was the Iowa State University Honors Program, which he participated in during his freshman year. He is still connected with the program after being a first-year honors leader and now an honors ambassador.

He also enjoyed activities in the aerospace engineering department, including Make to Innovate and the Cyclone Business Jet, along with opportunities outside the department like Habitat for Humanity and the Engineering Career Fair. He looks forward to seeing what all Purdue has to offer, because he has every intention of making the most of that experience as well.