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Statement of goals, research experiences, and other pertinent data should be included.

Provide a personal statement, not to exceed 2000 words, addressing your personal goals (e.g. graduate degree, career aspirations). A description of supplemental information is encouraged (e.g. previous experience, related activities).

The goal of any engineer should be to find problems in the world around them that challenge and push them to think critically and creatively. It is also essential to find those problems that excite them and make them love their work. Along with technical experience these are the keys to being a successful engineer. Never ceasing to be curious and questioning of the world around them. It is for these reasons that the LARSS program is an incredible opportunity for me. It is an environment that stresses individual thinking, as well as team learning and problem solving. The problems faced by NASA are complex and varied and require often unorthodox solutions. A setting such as this program would provide an excellent way to utilize my engineering coursework. However, it also involves those un-teachable skills that are absolutely necessary to be an engineer, including creative problem solving, self-motivation and tenacity. All of which I think I exemplify. Most importantly this program would allow me to study something that I have loved for my entire conscious life, and I would bring this passion that I have into every project I work on. I chose this program because it is an amazing chance to work on the advanced projects at the Langley Research Center. To be involved with such prestigious organizations presents many opportunities. I want to be able to thrive as an intern individually but also to have clear and quality mentorship. The researchers and scientists working at this center are already at the forefront of their field, and I am excited about the chance to work with them and learn from them. I am currently pursuing a Masters degree in aerospace engineering. With a topic as advanced and broad as aerospace engineering a higher degree is necessary to gain a solid understanding of the theory behind flight. I have focused on a variety of aerospace topics in my college career. I have taken advanced courses including: Spacecraft Design, Aircraft Structures, Aerodynamics, Aerospace Propulsion, Mechanical Behavior of Composites, and Aircraft Control Systems. This along with my core engineering courses has provided me with a wide breadth of knowledge. Specifically I have found myself drawn to research, development and design, in all of these courses. Design allows me to bring together all the topics I have covered, and draw upon different disciplines to create a cohesive picture. I enjoy finding the connections between these disparate courses, and understanding how each subject serves to illuminate and enhance the others. My focus on finding the connections and relations between areas of study, and using them to enhance my own work helped me immensely with my senior design project. During this project we were assigned teams of three. Each team was given a design brief; my specific project was to create a robotic grasshopper, capable of jumping a yard repeatedly. My team went through preliminary designs, product development, primary prototyping, engineering analysis, secondary prototyping and finally, optimization over the course of the project. This process required knowledge from several areas of mechanical engineering including materials science, mechanical vibrations, dynamics, and deformable

bodies. However, when trying to decide on motor type and power transmission an understanding of the electrical systems behind each motor was necessary. Researching the electrical system helped choose the right motor and configuration, and without doing this we would have been just using guess and check. Solving these types of problems is why I wanted to become and engineer and I want to continue to challenge myself to find new connections that would allow me to see problems in ways they have never been seen before. The next step, after my Masters, is to continue into the aerospace or aeronautics industry. I want to have hands on experience applying the theory I have studied for the past 4 years. I want to continue to make connections between what I have learned and how it manifests in the real world. I want to find a position that will have many different aspects and continue to change throughout my time there. I would love to be involved in the research and development of a new system. I strive to one day be able to design even just a part of an advanced flight or space system, and then watch something that I helped create actually fly. In some eventuality I would like to lead a team of a variety of engineering type to unify all those different disciplines and create a successful outcome. I also plan to continue my education, both through further degrees as well as courses available to me throughout my career. My research experience includes work I have done over summers combined with independent studies during the school year. In the summer of 2010 I worked with professor David Peters on his research on modeling of dynamic stall. He was working on a method for solving for the lift, drag and pitch of a rotating airfoil using a fourth order differential equation. The goal of this work was to find a way to model behavior of this system without using a process like computational fluid dynamics. During the summer I worked on optimizing a method for solving for lift parameters for given airfoils at different Mach numbers. I looked for trends and relationships between the parameters to allow them to be found quicker. This work threw me in the figurative deep end, because as a sophomore I did not have a strong grasp of partial differential calculus, nor the complex algorithms used to solve these problems. Though it was sometimes confusing, pushing me to learn about these complex processes on my own was extremely rewarding. I now know that I will never stop learning on the job, and the more complex problems will push me to learn more, and understand at a deeper level. The work I did that summer and following semester, besides helping with the research being done, was irreplaceable in teaching me about some advanced topics. I find I learn the best by being challenged and seeing how theory actually applies to the problem, and that is why I plan to always find complex work that will educate me throughout the rest of my career. I have also learned a lot from work experience that was not engineering related. During the summer, right before the fall I semester I work with a student run business called University Trucking. It is a student owned and operated storage and shipping company that has profits in the hundreds of thousands every year. I have worked there long enough to become an operations manager due to my knowledge of the system they use. This requires me to work with teams of people, coordinating deliveries and pickups, as well as handling problems that may arise with schedules or lost or damaged items. This position has taught me more about creative problem solving and team management than most of my course work. It requires quick thinking and decision making, and has pushed me to be a better leader and organizer. The skills I have learned at this small summer job have helped me

immensely in my school work and the rest of my life. It is my belief that every position and every job has something essential to teach. If I continue to look for the lesson in each situation I will continue to grow and learn for the rest of my life. A program such as this is an incredible opportunity for challenging me as well as providing valuable experience. Its unique combination of individual work and mentorship provide a framework for personal growth and learning. It also would give me a chance to contribute actively to ongoing projects and to apply my unique knowledge to solving problems. I am distinctly qualified for this position, not just because of my previous research experience, or advanced coursework, but also for my outlook on this program. To find new challenges and questions that will help me learn and progress as an engineer, while using my skills to help others around me.