National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Ryan Miller

SUNY Buffalo
Buffalo, NY
B.S. Aerospace Engineering, May 2009

Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN
M.S. Aeronautics and Astronautics,
May 2011

NASA Academy Research Project:
Design Optimization of a Next Generation Supersonic Transport

Principal Investigator:
Dr. Meng-Sing Liou

East Aurora, NY


Personal Statement

Since I was very young, I have dreamed of and desired a civilization that extends into the far reaches of space. Pictures of distant galaxies or enchanting nebulae and staring up into the night sky stir up a longing within me to travel to and reach those places. It is my life’s goal to help make space travel more affordable, convenient, efficient, and faster so that this dream of a civilization that spans throughout space can become a reality.

I applied for a NASA internship because I would love to learn more about the space industry and to have the opportunity to work on a project related to aerospace technology.  I hope to one day work on a project that involves some of the more advanced developments in propulsion, such as nuclear propulsion, electromagnetic propulsion or the VASIMR project, as work on these projects would contribute to more affordable, efficient, and faster methods of space travel.  I am excited to work on my current research project with Glenn’s Aeropropulsion Division, as the design methods and computational techniques that I will learn and use for this project are directly applicable to any career in the space industry.

My strong and diverse academic background, research, and work experiences have made me an invaluable asset at NASA Academy. My nearly perfect undergraduate GPA and 4.0 graduate GPA exemplify my dedication to success and attest to my rigorous work ethic. My motivation and insatiable curiosity have lead me to study abroad twice and pursue activities outside the classroom. Participating in the study abroad programs has enhanced my knowledge and understanding of the world, developed my communication skills, and has made me more resourceful and independent. My experience as a teaching assistant has further enhanced my professional skills. I have also undertaken two undergraduate research projects, one of which was a part of my most recent study abroad program in Toulouse, France. These experiences have further developed my analytical and computer skills.

After achieving a Masters degree, I intend to continue on to a PhD in propulsion at Purdue. I would like to pursue a career in developing and improving propulsion methods at NASA or a related company. I believe that it is possible to develop a method of space transportation that would allow travel to Mars to take less than a month in less than a lifetime. Contributing to such an advancement is an endeavor that I would most readily commit my life to, as traveling to Mars myself is one of my strongest desires. This NASA internship will be an invaluable experience for a future career in the space industry, as I would one day like to work at NASA or related company.


For my MAE 277 class (Introduction to Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Practice), I worked on a group project that involved taking apart and analyzing a Weed Eater line trimmer, an oral presentation, and a technical report. The original group leader showed little responsibility or initiative at first and other group members seemed reluctant to proceed with the project. A week or two went by with little progress, which made me concerned. I then took the initiative to contact all my group members and organized group meetings. It quickly became apparent that the other group members looked to me for what needed to be done. I then learned to delegate responsibilities and tasks based on my group member’s interests. The quality and amount of work that I was putting into the project, in conjunction with my high expectations, yielded quality work from all group members. In the final weeks, the group meetings became very organized and incredibly efficient. In the end, we put together a presentation which I presented to a class of 150-200 and it received a grade of 95 %. The technical report on the line trimmer was 70 pages in length, complete with assembly/disassembly instructions, part descriptions, and ProE assembly drawings (received a grade of 97 %).\

Additionally, leadership responsibilities come with my Black Belt in Karate. As a Black Belt, I served as a role model to other students in the school and was required to run warm ups, drills and class instruction.