Seetha Raghavan

Seetha Raghavan

Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineer
University of Central Florida
Orlando, FL, United States
Seetha Raghavan
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Seetha Raghavan is an Assistant Professor with research interests in aerospace structures and materials. She works with her students to engineer materials as sensors to monitor structural integrity and studies high temperature coatings used in jet engine turbine blades. She has had 7 years of experience in the aerospace industry where she was a senior engineer involved in Aircraft structural analysis, Aircraft maintenance, Repair & modifications as well as research and development in Non-destructive structural testing.
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
  • I am willing to serve as a sponsor or coach for an engineering club or team.
  • I am willing to serve as science fair judge or other temporary volunteer at a local school.
Answers by Dr Seetha Raghavan

Dear Mehr,

Great question! All the areas covered in your options -  Aerodynamics and Propulsion as well as Structures and Materials - are important when it comes to designing aircraft and working in the Aerospace Engineering field - they cannot exist without the other. Groups of engineers work in each of these areas in the industry to contribute to the overall design and so engineers having a focus in either of these options are needed - job opportunities follow this pretty even trend.

If I had to decide between A or B, I would use my interest in the subjects to decide. Look through some of the recommended texts for each and get a feel for what interests you more.
Both your options are really going to be enjoyable. Both have experimental and numerical aspects - so you could choose to work in a hands-on or computational environment in either one of the areas. Personally, I was more fascinated with Aerodynamics in college but ended up working in the Structures and Materials field which I enjoyed tremendously - so I'd say you can't go wrong with either one of these choices!

Hope this helps!


Dear Karla,

Both Aerospace and Mechanical Engineers have the ability to adapt to positions in the industry that require technical capability in either of these positions…with some work (courses). I’d like to think that as Aerospace engineers we design structures and systems just like Mechanical Engineers do except we do it while dealing with several limitations – extreme environments, weight limitations, etc. But that’s why we’re always pushing the limits and at the forefront of technology. 

Most of us Aerospace Engineers are somehow extremely passionate about our field – and I think that’s a great thing. I tend to follow my passion because it drives me to excel – so I believe you will get a job doing what you want to do because you are so passionate about it! 

Now I have seen some students with the initiative of taking on a double major in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and that’s something to consider if you feel you could put in that extra time (you can figure out with your undergraduate counselor how many extra courses you would need before assessing and making a decision). There are also opportunities in college to take part in design competitions or undergraduate research or a summer internship in either of these fields to show your capability in both fields. Hope this helps!

Dear Sydney,

First of all I must congratulate you on two things: making goals and coming up with a plan to realize it. This is amazing! You have the makings of a successful design engineer and a great leader and all of this in the 7th grade.

Building robots is an excellent way to learn about design engineering.
There are also good resources to learn about opportunities for design engineers on the NASA website and the
website for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Askpolaris is an AIAA website that has resources for future aerospace engineers like you.
Look out for design competitions at your local area or through the nearby universities.

Design engineers are very good at working in teams since they have to work with people from various engineering disciplines to make the project successful. If you are involved in any projects where you work in a group setting in school, that's good training for the future.

Good luck!


Dear Kavitha, 

I am glad you’re interested in Engineering and in Aerospace Engineering – I think it’s an amazing field and most of us who are part of it have so much passion for the science and technology of flight. From Sally Ride, the first US woman to fly to space to Marta Bohn-Meyer, a chief engineer in NASA and the first woman crewmember to fly in the SR-71, there are so many excellent women aerospace engineers who have inspired us all. It has only been a little more than a 100 years since we achieved flight and we have come so far, imagine where we will be in the next 100 years and we need people who are excited about the field to bring us forward to meet the engineering challenges.

The best part about Aerospace Engineering is that it involves the expertise of many different kinds of engineers like Mechanical, Electrical, Industrial and more. I myself did my undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering while taking senior level Aerospace classes because we did not have an Aerospace engineering department in my hometown. I then worked to find opportunities to do my masters and PhD in Aerospace Engineering elsewhere. What you need is passion for the field and the drive to excel. You will eventually find your way to what interests you the most and you will be successful in it!