West Lafayette, IN
M.S. in Aerospace Engineering 2013
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering 2011
NASA Academy Research
Spacecraft Filtration System Development for Future Spacecraft Systems
Dr. Juan H. Agui
I have always loved to learn. Not just about space, engineering, or some other technical science, but pretty much about everything I’ve encountered throughout my life. I’ve often attempted to conceptualize my desire to learn, and it has always returned to a simple desire to discover and understand. From future sciences to our history, from sports to literature, all knowledge has a common thread. Through everything we aspire to learn, we can better understand who we are, where we’ve been, and discover where we are going.
I’ve always loved pushing boundaries, which has lead to some trouble, but more success. I am very passionate person. I’ve always felt that if you are spending the time and energy to do something, then love it, pursue it, and be as passionate about it as you can. Don’t waste your potential. I’m confident in my abilities and what I know, but I also understand that there is an infinite breadth of knowledge to be gained, both from others with knowledge that I don’t possess and from a universe that has yet to relinquish many of its secrets.
I love the fact that just over a century ago, only those in the ilk Jules Verne and H.G. Wells could conceptualize some of the things of which we’re currently capable. I love that in 1903 we became the first species that was not designed for flight yet was able to have big enough dreams to allow us to still touch the sky. From there, we became the first species to be born upon this planet, and then leave it for other celestial objects and for the vast space within which we preside. I love that right now we have the ability to dream and the desire to discover how much more is out there and how much farther we can go.
I’ve always found fault in the idea that the discovery and exploration of space is not a current necessity. This exploration of the unknown is a major part of what has made humankind the most successful species on our planet. Neglecting this necessity would be neglecting what makes us special, it would be both near-sighted and against our nature. We have many problems on our planet, the solutions to which will not all be found in space. But the progress we can make – though understanding, discovery, and advancements in all our sciences – can only lead to a better future, and a better understanding of ourselves, our purpose, and just how finite and special we are as a species.
Like many people who pursue degrees in engineering, at the start, I wasn’t always sure it was the path for me. In fact, I had no idea, as I was majoring in kinesiology with a minor in mathematics at Michigan State University and pursuing a career path in teaching and coaching. I still love teaching and particularly coaching, but it wasn’t my calling.
As I previously stated, I have many, many interests, but one that always stuck out to me was a passion for math and science, and in particular, space. With this passion in mind, I decided to change my path and major. Recently I received my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University and next year I will start my path to receiving a M.S. in Aerospace Engineering at Purdue University.
I’ve been lucky enough to have many experiences in my life that have led me to be able to be where I am today. My first internship was within the automotive industry at a company now called Nexteer Automotive. There I spent a lot of my time doing fluids tests and quality engineering work.
Attempting to work my way into experiences that dealt with aerospace, I took my next job doing research for MSU. I was lucky enough to obtain several research positions in subsequent semesters, the first of which was a materials based literature research, the latter a laboratory study on laser diagnostics and the effects of plasma on combustion.
I was able to take these experiences with me to NASA Glenn Research Center for their Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP). At NASA, I implemented, evaluated, and documented the results of various diagnostic and thrust estimation approaches on engine simulations.
Educational and Professional Objectives
This fall, I am starting my pursuit of a M.S. in Aerospace Engineering. I am still undecided on continuing my education toward a PhD or attempt to begin my professional endeavors following that. Upon my completion my educational pursuits I hope to work in the aerospace industry developing new technologies for the further exploration of space.