An Aerospace Engineer Experience

My name is Lizzy and I am a high school student interested in the aerospace engineering career and I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions. I am also doing a speech on the topic and any information you can give me would be very helpful. Anyway, here are a few of my questions:


What is involved in being an aerospace engineer?
Did your education fully prepare you for a profession in the engineering field or were there some surprises along the way?
What is/was one of the biggest obstacles you’ve had as an engineer?
Is your job fun or is it “just another day at the office” and why?
What did you education consist of?
Since you work with NASA, do you also learn about the other things that go on there?
Do you ever regret choosing this career path and why?
Thank you very much for your time. If you have anything else you’d like to tell me, I would be so happy to hear it.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!!! Thanks again!
posted by Lizzy on April 2, 2012

Answer by Aprille Ericsson

1. Aerospace engineering involves aeronautics (Aero - vehicles in lower air medium, i.e., airplanes, jets, helicopters, glider, balloons) and astronautics (an old term that describes vehicles that work in the upper atmosphere of space, i.e., satellites, International Space Station, Space Shuttle, rockets) 2. My education did prepare me for my career. But there are always surprises. One major surprise was the first Space Shuttle disaster. I graduated that spring and realized the jobs I wanted to work on were at a standstill. I decided to go to graduate school. 3. When attending MIT I was ill prepared for the level of mathematics that I was expected to have mastered. Also, as a practicing engineer money and time are never enough. 4. My job is great. I really like the fact that I am always learning something new. My days are never the same. 5. BS from Mass. Institute of Technology Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering Master of Engineering and Doctor of Philosophy from Howard University Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Option Classes were in: technical writing; computer programming; electrical eng. - optimization, circuitry and control theory; civil eng. - structures, finite element theory; mathematics - linear algebra, calculus, differential equations, applied mathematics, statistics; mechanical eng. - vibrations, mechanics, system dynamics, astrodynamics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, aerodynamics, etc.... 6. All the time. We are sent lots of announcements, have workshops and lectures that are available to all employees. 7. Nope. But I think about extending my knowledge to other fields. 8. I love teaching and speaking about what I do.