“As an engineer and throughout my future career path, I hope I will always find myself in a role where I can help people by developing research, products, or tools that will promote access to critical resources for all, especially those who can’t easily access what they need currently.”
Hometown: Downers Grove, Illinois
What would you consider your greatest accomplishments at Iowa State?
One of my proudest accomplishments in my time at ISU has probably been leading a successful year-long project for Biomedical Engineering Society, where we fully designed, fabricated and assembled a prosthetic arm that we were then able to give to a family from Iowa.
Who was your most influential mentor while at Iowa State and why?
James Michael, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. Dr. Michael introduced me to research in the department and encouraged me to get involved with a project in his lab that I have been working on for almost two years. The work I’ve done in his lab with laser-based flow diagnostics has been a huge asset for me with obtaining a NASA internship and full-time position in the same research areas.
Which of your hands-on learning opportunities was most valuable?
My most valuable hands-on experience was working as a research assistant in the Multiphase Reacting Flow Lab. The experience introduced me to problem solving that was more complex and intricate than anything I had worked with before and pushed me to dive deep into literature and other materials to successfully build an experimental setup. My experience in the lab working on an ultrafast imaging system and laser based flow diagnostics in general led me to an opportunity to intern at NASA Langley Research Center, which dealt with a lot of similar research disciplines.
What is one of your favorite memories from your time at ISU?
One of my favorite memories from my time is getting the opportunity to study abroad in Valencia, Spain, on an Iowa State program the summer after my freshman year. The whole trip was full of exploring new cities, immersing myself in the Spanish language and culture, and enjoying lots of time on the Mediterranean with other students on the trip. It was an incredible experience that pushed me outside of my comfort zone and was tons of fun.
What are your plans for after graduation?
After graduation I will be moving to Hampton, Virginia, to start my job as a research engineer at the National Institute of Aerospace, as a contractor for NASA Langley Research Center. I will be conducting research in wind tunnel laser-based flow experiments and contributing to a lunar lander measurement system.
What’s the mark you’re looking to leave on the world as an engineer?
As an engineer and throughout my future career path, I really hope to be able to make people’s lives better. At NASA, I hope that will be accomplished by promoting scientific discovery and pushing the boundaries of exploration for the benefit of humanity. Beyond that, I hope I will always find myself in a role where I can help people by developing research, products or tools that will promote access to critical resources and tools for all, especially those who can’t easily access what they need currently.
What’s unique about the Cyclone Engineering student experience?
I think that one of the things that I really appreciate about Iowa State Engineering is that there are a million different ways to pursue your passion. Not only through the large variety of majors to choose from, but from the hundreds of student clubs, research opportunities, mentorship roles and courses that you can get involved in. If there’s a specific interest or passion that you have as an engineer, there is most likely a group of your peers that will welcome you in with open arms and provide plentiful resources to pursue that interest. You can make your niche as narrow or as broad as you want. In addition, I have always felt welcome and supported by faculty and the college both academically and personally, which I think can’t be said for some schools. Cyclone Engineering is a great community and it’s easy to find like-minded, hard-working and friendly peers to grow with academically and socially.