Monday, September 13, 2010

More About Me

I'm going to talk more about lunar comsats later, but I'm away from my desk right now and thus don't feel like writing more about that (I get so used to pulling up info on my second monitor and writing on the primary that I always feel hamstrung trying to do without). Instead, I thought I'd talk more about who the heck I am, anyway.

As I've mentioned, I'm a second-year student at the University of Dayton in the MEE/aero program. And yeah, that's second-year, not sophomore, because according to the University I'm a junior due to all the AP classes I took back in high school, but claiming to be a junior just...I don't know, it seems like it's not true. Second-year student seems to better represent the important stuff about me than the term junior or sophomore.

For the same reason, I feel more comfortable talking about my work with the school's Aerodesign Team than the student section of the AIAA. AIAA, important as it is (and I've given the "why you should be in the AIAA" spiel to so many groups of freshman that I can now recite it from memory) is something where my role is mostly going to be to get speakers in and co-ordinate schedules. In Aerodesign, I'm helping the team design and build the plane. So it seems to me that claiming to membership in Aerodesign is more honest than talking about being the vice-president of the school's AIAA chapter. I'm the VP because I was the one who stepped up to do the few things it involves, so getting the title seems kind of false, whereas I'm eager to claim membership in the Aerodesign Team because I really feel like it's something I'm really helping with and that's really making me more than an engineering student. Spending a few hours with a bandsaw, drill press, and epoxy to create false ribs for the wings (which is what I'm working on in the image) feels more like something I can take ownership of and be proud of than spending fifteen minutes in Excel getting speaker dates set up.

Actually, that feeling is where the title of this blog comes from. Last year during the build month (which should have been more like a week, but I don't feel like re-hashing all of what went wrong last year in the public eye since the people who actually need to know have talked it over and are working to avoid it happening again), there was one weekend session where we were almost ready for one of our first test flights. As a result, we came down to the wind tunnel, did about ten or fifteen minutes of work that we could, set the batteries to charge to be ready for the next day, and then...we were done. It felt strange, I didn't want to go back to my dorm and work on homework. I would have been fine staying in the tunnel and just chatting, because as long as I was there, I wasn't just an engineering student. I was an actual engineer who just happened to also still be learning the job. So that's where the "engineer in progress" name comes from.

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