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Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering Success Stories

About me:
Paige Botos
B.S. in Aerospace Engineering (2014)
Boeing, Seal Beach, CA

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as an Aerodynamics Engineer:
I provide customer support and work to improve maintenance procedures/costs relative to the 777/777X model series systems. My responsibilities also include coordination with regulatory agencies (FAA and EASA) to verify necessary requirements. I am also involved in Boeing held seminars relative to maintenance reliability and production planning.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
The skills and abilities that are required for being successful include understanding of engineering mechanics, ability to provide strong engineering judgement, and aircraft fundamentals. Public speaking and communication skills are essential as majority of the work is interfacing with the customers (airlines) and regulatory agencies.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering?
The advice I would give to students considering majoring in Aerospace Engineering is to go for it. The aerospace field is an amazing opportunity to work with highly intellectual folks, phenomenal projects, and it provides the ability to be constantly learning. While in school, focus on the fundamentals and the process of reaching the solution, rather than the solution itself.


About me:
Kegan Buchhop
B.S. in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering (2017)
Blue Origin, Van Horn, TX

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Propulsion Development Engineer:
I am currently a Propulsion Development Engineer working for Blue Origin on the development of the 550,000 lb. thrust BE-4 liquid rocket engine. This engine is on track to power ULA's Vulcan rocket, as well as Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket. My main responsibility is to set up and run full-scale engine tests. This includes building and inspecting engine hardware, as well as reviewing data post-test. Additionally, I am in charge of building and disassembling the engine's main turbopump when it requires maintenance at our test site in West Texas.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
Strong problem solving skills are invaluable in my role. Issues arise daily, and being able to quickly react and find a solution could be the difference between firing the engine and losing a test day. Hands-on experience is a must, as I typically work with and troubleshoot hardware on a daily basis. A fierce work ethic keeps me going on long test days.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering?
Get involved with an engineering organization such as Design/Build/Fly or Buckeye Space Launch Initiative and take on a challenging role. These organizations reinforce your studies, allow you to pursue your engineering interests, and help you figure out what you want to pursue in your career. The lessons you learn and the experience you gain will translate to success later on. If joining a team isn't in your interests, consider a research project in your field.


About me:
Benjamin Fischer
M.S. in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering, Purdue University (2017)
B.S. in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering (2012)
Lockheed Martin, Fort Worth, TX

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Systems Engineer Senior:
As a performance analysis Systems Engineer, I am responsible for trajectory shaping and performance of rockets and missiles.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
The ability to come up with unique ideas to solve problems and the means to implement the idea into a meaningful result is vitally important. Be creative. Communication is also key. Being able to describe a problem accurately allows you to work effectively with your co-workers.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering?
Work hard. It's not easy, but totally worth it. Get involved in extracurricular projects that interest you. It will help you narrow in on what you truly enjoy and looks great on resumes.


About me:Alvaro Hernandez headshot
Alvaro Hernandez
M.S. in Manufacturing Engineering, Boston University (2014)
B.S. in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering (2010)
GE Aviation, Wichita, KS

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as an Aircraft Systems Integration Leader:
I am currently an Aircraft Systems Integration Leader for GE Aviation on the Advanced Turboprop program. I work directly on site at the customer's facility to lead the design, installation & integration of the new Advanced Turboprop, (ATP) Engine. For the customer, I represent a team of 600 engineers working on this program and I facilitate all technical discussions between them. I am responsible for the negotiation, design and integration of all 72 Engine-Aircraft Interfaces. I coach design engineers on how to collaborate & communicate with the customer to ensure GE’s success while achieving a 90% or better in customer satisfaction.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
I think the most important skill needed is to be willing to listen, learn, and react to the customer's need. When you are working on the design of not only a new engine but also a new aircraft, every single interface is a learning experience and a small challenge to solve. It helps to have a broad understanding of the whole engine system such as how a change in the front of the engine can affect the back end, if it affects the customer, etc.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering?
Enjoy it. Everyone will tell you it is hard and a lot of work; It really is but it is also a LOT of fun. If you look up every time you hear the roar of an aircraft overhead, or you dream about space, Aerospace Engineering will ignite the questions inside you, and your Ohio State professors will help you answer them. You should enjoy learning about what you plan to study/major in here at Ohio State. Finally, don't rely on SMS or e-mail to get the quickest answer. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call your peers, build that personal relationship and get the answer to your questions quickly. By the way, this is the way business operates (not via e-mail).


About me:
Kelsey Honious
M.S. in Astronautical Engineering, USC (2017)
B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering (2012)
Pratt and Whitney, Hartford, CT

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Performance Engineer:
I am currently a Performance Engineer for Pratt and Whitney's Advanced Engines Programs division. I analyze and design the thermodynamic engine cycle to achieve target performance for our customers. I have also previously held positions in design and structural analysis.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
In order to succeed in my various roles, the most critical skill has been my ability to keep learning. When you leave college, you have to be prepared to continue your education on the job. Whether it's a new CAD tool, a company-specific process, or an entirely new discipline, you have to be ready to learn new skills and build on the fundamentals that college ingrained in you. No engineer is ever done learning. It is also important to be adaptable. Program needs will rise and fall, and that means that you need to be able to switch between tasks quickly while still remaining organized.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering?
Know what you want and why you want it. If you have a goal (or a dream) that you're working towards, it will help steady you in those moments when you're running on 2 hours of sleep and eight cups of coffee and questioning why you ever wanted this. It will keep you focused and driven when some of your classmates drop this major by the end of sophomore year. This field is not easy, but it is awesomely fascinating and filled with incredible opportunities. If it is something you love, then you'll find a way to make it happen. Also, make friends! Sure, it's possible to do the homework and study on your own, but you will learn so much better and retain so much more if you work as a group. Different people means different ideas, which is the lifeblood of engineering. You need to be able to work with other people and appreciate different approaches to problems in order to succeed in engineering. Consider it the informal part of your college education


About me:Ben Lewis headshot
Ben Lewis
B.S. in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering (2014)
United States Air Force (USAF), WPAFB, OH

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as an Aerospace Engineer:
Currently, I am a Scientist and Engineer Palace Acquire (PAQ) Civilian Servant. I am in year two of the program and am pursuing my Masters of Science in Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL. The PAQ program is designed to create the next leaders of the USAF.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
In order to be successful, you must have a relentless work ethic. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Being able to handle adversity, prioritize multiple responsibilities, and staying motivated when exhausted.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering?
If you want this degree, you need to have a winner's attitude and be able to bring it every day.  Sit in the front row. It seems simple but you will be able to hear and see the professor better, you will NOT be tempted to fall asleep, and this way you will absorb more of the material. Make friends in the front row. You cannot do this alone, and the best way to ensure your individual success is to align with the best and brightest in your class - usually the folks at the head of the class are sitting in the front of the classroom. Make them your allies, and of course be a great friend and ally to them as well. By senior year, there were about 10 of us who had each other’s back no matter what. We had been battle tested together, encouraged each other through difficult times, and in some cases made a friend for life.


About me:Steven Scherer headshot
Steven Scherer
B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering (2015) Honors in Engineering and Honors Research Distinction
The Boeing Company, Mukilteo, WA

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as an Aerospace Engineer:
I provide Aerodynamic Stability & Control analysis/support mostly for Boeing’s commercial airplanes that have already received their certification from the FAA. Generally, my team provides data to answer customers’ questions, address potential fleet issues, and modify operational procedures. We also work with foreign regulatory agencies to validate compliance to their aviation laws. There’s a lot of variety - you never know what will come next in the Fleet Support role (but it’s always interesting)!

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
Sure, intimate knowledge of a particular airplane is important to the job; but knowing the fundamentals of flight dynamics, pilot operations, and the regulatory environment will get you much further. Having a solid understanding of aero engineering fundamentals allows you to get to the 90% answer very quickly, which will help narrow the scope of whatever you work on. Visualize the plot that will have the answer(s) you need - and set out to create data that will tell the story.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering?
Consider training for a pilot certificate or at least take a “discovery” flight. If flying some sort of aircraft (including drones, rockets, etc!) really does not make you excited, ask yourself why. Focus on the basics and “big picture” in your courses - and then apply those skills to solve real-world problems such as those you might encounter in Design, Build, Fly or the Rocket club.


About me:
Kerwin Sierra-Reyes
B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering (2016)
Delta Air Lines, Atlanta, Georgia

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Project Manager:
As a Project Manager in our Cabin Maintenance department, I am responsible for managing all of the lavatories, overhead stowage compartments, and lighting products installed on aircraft across the entire Delta fleet. This involves reliability studies, vendor management, material management and other project activities.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
Flexibility and adaptability are key skills for someone in my position. In the engineering world, we can get so involved in ensuring a design or product is perfect on paper and that may not necessarily be the case for the real world application. Changes in a dynamic, world-wide operation can often bring down the best laid plans, and it is then that being able to adapt and quickly recover becomes key to properly support your customers. Often, people who are good at this, tend to think outside of the box and prepare for multiple scenarios before executing. This leads to success stories attached to your resume and can lead to a successful career.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering?
For students considering Aerospace, I suggest setting time aside to gain real world experience during your academic years. While there are advantages in graduating as quickly as possible, the experience and exposure gained in internships and co-ops will set you up for success even before graduation. I also suggest not limiting your options in terms of career paths, it is not just designing rockets and aircraft. The industry is full of exciting opportunities that can span across multiple platforms and components all over the globe. Get out, explore, and experience!


About me:
Michael Snyder
M.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering (2011)
B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering (2009)
Made In Space, Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Co-Founder and Chief Engineer:
Made In Space is focused on developing manufacturing capabilities for use in space while spinning off the utilized technologies for Earth-based applications. As Chief Engineer, I currently oversee the day-to-day engineering operations and lead the research and development efforts. I also have the opportunity to operate both manufacturing devices that are on the International Space Station.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
In order to be successful in my role, it has been important for me to have the desire to learn new things every day, exercise critical thinking, and approach challenges and new opportunities with creativity. It is also extremely vital to my success to dedicate much of my time for our company's endeavors while practicing standard engineering design and system processes.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering?
If I could give students advice, I would tell them to maintain focus on their goals and prioritize their lives to make their dreams a reality. I would also tell them to be inquisitive in order to learn everything they can from those that have different experiences and knowledge than they currently do.