Like many of my fellow Aerospace Engineering graduates, I had many influences which led me toward my professional path. I always had a fascination with the space program and possessed a strong aptitude towards math and science. It did help that my father was an industrial engineer for Vought Aircraft, my mother worked in management for American Airlines and my older brother was a pilot for the Air Force and American Airlines. It seemed natural for me to continue the “family business” and pursue aerospace engineering. I then began my education in the Fall of 1999 and was so proud to be a Longhorn. During my time at UT, I interned at Applied Research Laboratories in the Space and Geophysics Lab where I conducted GPS data processing and analysis. The experience I gained during my internship provided an application of my aerospace curriculum and it also enhanced my computer skills. In May of 2003, I graduated from UT and began my professional career.
I joined Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Dallas as a Guidance and Navigation Engineer. My initial position focused on advanced algorithm development for Air and Missile Defense Systems as well as research and development for Hardware-in-the-Loop simulations and field-testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. After completing one year with Lockheed Martin, I was chosen to participate in the Engineering Leadership Development Program (ELDP). This program introduced me to several aspects of the company with an emphasis on technical and leadership development. In particular, I worked on the Patriot Advanced Capabilities-3 (PAC-3) missile guidance and supported the System Architecture Study to design integrated architectures capable of defending against rockets, artillery, and mortars.
In May of 2008, I earned my M.E. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Arlington. Currently, I am working on the Simulation and Controls team for the unmanned ground vehicle program, Multifunction Utility/Logistics and Equipment (MULE). My focus is on generating algorithms to control the vehicle’s mobility and articulation. These algorithms are tested in a MATLAB/Simulink environment and are auto-coded for actual field-testing on the subscale engineering evaluation unit (EEU).
In addition to my professional duties, I am one of the company’s representatives on the External Advisory Committee for the ASE/EM Department. This committee allows me to share my unique perspectives on my time at UT and professional experiences after graduation. I am able to communicate what the industry requires from recent graduates. These requirements emphasize the need for students to seek hands-on experiences through school projects, internships, and co-ops. These types of exposures will create more opportunities for personal and career growth. Learning to work in a team environment to solve technical challenges is crucial to our field.
The education and experiences as a Longhorn have allowed me to work in multiple engineering facets from missiles to unmanned ground vehicles. I have realized that an education from UT is very versatile and opens up many doors for exploration and growth. Like most fields, learning doesn’t come to a halt after graduation. Seek continuous learning and utilize your engineering background to explore new and exciting challenges.