University of Cincinnati
B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, June 2011
M.S. in Aerospace Engineering, June 2011
NASA Academy Research Project:
Mars Data Analysis: Dust Deposition on Rovers
Dr. Geoffrey A. Landis
Just as the cliché typically goes, I’m the nerdy kid with his head filled with numbers, who stares out at the stars and becomes short of breath at the grand scope of all of it. I want to explore it. I want to understand it. These are the things that have led me to study aerospace. I find that this area, above all others, is the perfect avenue to both conquer this fascinating unknown and play to my strengths of physics and math.
As a 3rd year student at the University of Cincinnati, I’m pursuing both a bachelor’s and master’s degree through the ACCEND program. So far, my schooling has exposed me to the basics of fluid flow, aerodynamics, programming, and system modeling. Additionally, through the three quarters of Co-Op work I’ve completed, I have had experience with practical programming, hands-on work, and teamwork. During my first Co-Op quarter at the University of Cincinnati, I worked with Dr. San-Mou Jeng as a research assistant in his lab. Responsible for setting up rigs and recording combustor acoustics, temperature, and composition, I was involved in the hands-on building and testing aspect of aerospace research. This was a sharp contrast from my next Co-Op at Wright Patterson AFB, where I worked in the Turbine Engine Research and Analysis group. My work at Wright Patterson required much more computer modeling and research than my previous Co-Op. I worked at this Co-Op for two quarters where I used programs such as TERMAP and NASA’s CEA (Chemical Equilibrium with Applications). While I enjoyed both experiences and received excellent exposure to both worlds of aeronautical analysis/modeling and testing, I have yet to explore the subject in which I’m most interested in, that drew me to the aero program in the first place: space.
Unfortunately, as of yet, I have not been heavily exposed to the spacecraft side of aerospace, and I believe this is where my true passion lies. One of the main reasons I entered an aerospace engineering program was because of a class I took in high school, “Space Tech”. That one class captured my imagination and interest unlike anything I had experienced before. Our class project, a Mars rover simulation, kept me riveted and put to good use the math and analytical skills that seem to come easily to me and put my leadership skills to the test. So while I have enjoyed my course work so far, I am anxious to get to classes that involve more space related topics.
During my free time, aside from the typical time-wasters of video games and movies, I like to read, often a good sci-fi book. However, my greatest passion lies in fencing. I’ve been fencing for more than seven years and I am currently the coach and president of the University of Cincinnati Fencing Club, The physical activity is a must for me but, more than that is the mental and competitive challenge fencing provides. I am a member of the United States Fencing Association (USFA) and even though I am rated in both epee and foil fencing, I constantly strive to improve my rating. I try to fence at least twice a week and someday I hope to achieve an “A” rating (the best available) in foil.
My current, short-term objectives consist of gaining more exposure to rocket propulsion, spacecraft design, and space systems, through both my time as a Research Associate during the NASA Academy and my next year at the University of Cincinnati. Quite simply, I haven’t seen enough to know what exactly I want to commit to as a career. I figure my education in this field in still incredibly young, and there are plenty of fields that I have virtually no experience with. There are few who have the raw curiosity and complete commitment that I bring to the table. I am ready to start the “space” phase of my aerospace education and excited learning from and working with NASA.
Not surprisingly, my current long-term goals are somewhat open-ended. I hope to have a key role with space exploration projects, not unlike those of the Mars rovers or the Kepler telescope. In fact, given my fascination with space and rockets, determination to succeed, ability to learn quickly, and the leadership skills I continue to learn, eventually I hope to head-up a major project in the space exploration field.