Hometown: Chattanooga, TN
Job: Graduate Research Assistant at UTC SIM Center
MS Program: Mechanical Engineering
Why did you choose UTC CECS?
I had moved back in with my parents a year or two before starting at UTC to start fresh and was inspired to go back to school and try mechanical engineering. I chose UTC for my undergraduate degree because they are close to home and have an accredited engineering program. When I was approached about graduate school, I did consider applying to other places, but I decided to stay with UTC because my family has been a great support system for me, I liked Dr Sreenivas and felt he would be a good supervisor, and the research opportunity that was he offered sounded very interesting do me.
What is your career ambition and how is the MS program helping you get there?
When I first started, I just wanted to be able to find a job I would be good at that wouldn’t leave me living paycheck to paycheck. The MS program has inspired me to do more and dream bigger. I now have more confidence in myself and my abilities. I am more motivated to not just have a job in engineering, but to have a career in something that inspires me and pushes me to keep learning and growing. The MS program provides more opportunities for me than I ever thought would be possible.
What have you liked about the MS program?
I feel like I have learned so much that is focused on my area of research, and it is preparing me for a career in something that I will have more interest and take pride in. I also like that the other graduate students are likeminded individuals who take their education seriously. They have all been very open to sharing their experiences and knowledge, and it has been a great experience learning and working with them through both courses and research.
Did you take any online courses?
Yes, one as a master’s student and 3 during undergraduate.
I liked being able to work the “lectures” into my schedule instead of the other way around
What opportunities have you had during your degree to gain other skills?
I do research for Dr. Sree in hypersonics using CFD (computational fluid dynamics), and I am a member of AIAA. I feel like the research is a great way to learn and gain skills in areas of interest. It makes the curriculum more relevant and useful, and the skills and experience built through the research will provide better and more interesting job opportunities. I was able to present my research from last summer at an AIAA conference, where we met and made connections with professionals in Aerospace that could help with future career opportunities.
Have you had support from CECS faculty/staff?
Yes, absolutely. Most of the professors have been very supportive and helpful during my time at UTC. I might have stopped after my first semester of my undergraduate courses if it weren't for Dr. Thomason. Dr. Margraves has been a huge supporter both through undergraduate and graduate school; I know his door will be open if I ever need academic or career advice. He also awakened my interest in thermodynamics and compressible flow through his courses. Dr. Sreenivas is my supervisor and I would probably not have thought graduate school was an option for me if he hadn’t asked me to be one of his graduate student researchers.
How has the program helped you?
I have learned so much from this program, and I feel more capable and prepared to go into a career in research, testing, or design. It has been hard work, but It does pay off, and will continue to do so in my future.
What has been the best part of your experience?
The research. I wish I had gotten involved in undergraduate research, but I am very grateful I have had this opportunity as a graduate student. My supervisor and the other graduate students have all been great to work with, and I really enjoy the area of study.
If you are considering applying to a graduate program, I would suggest you talk to the professors and find out what research opportunities are available. If something strikes your interest, see if you can get involved. If you are interested in research, experimentation, or design, finding a supervisor in your area of interest and working with them through your MS program is a great way to prepare yourself for that field. It is hard work, but it is worth it.
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