[image-36]I'm proud to be a part of a legacy of engineers -- my grandfather, father and uncle all have worked or are currently working for NASA. I earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tenn., and a master's in the same field from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.
As a support contractor for NASA, I'm developing algorithms for the flight control system of the Space Launch System (SLS) -- NASA's new heavy-lift launch vehicle that will take its first uncrewed flight in 2017. Our team is testing those algorithms on an F-18 fighter jet at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, and manning the control room for all the tests. We'll be looking at the data coming in real time, making decisions about the test scenarios and communicating with the pilot on flight days. We're really excited for the opportunity to get to see our work take off, literally, for the first time.
I'm doing exactly the kind of work I passionately pursued in college. This is the first opportunity I've had to see a concept go from nuts and bolts all the way to flight. That's a huge deal, especially being so early in my career.
My advice to students is apply yourself fully to anything that engages you and learn everything possible about it. Relish the confidence you gain through the steady commitment to your interests.