Sibylle Walter
Ms. Sibylle Walter
PhD Candidate, University of Colorado, Boulder
CO
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Biography

I didn't set out to be an engineer, but I kind of fell into it. I graduated from high school in 2003 from a technology magnet program where I built an electric car. I had initially enrolled in a hospitality branch of the program where I would learn to cook, bake, and how to manage a hotel. I switched to engineering because it sounded like fun as well. There, I learned to weld, how to lay up fiberglass, and various other technical skills. After my first year I was hooked and I ended up attending the University of Maryland, College Park for my undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering. While at UMCP, I struggled a lot with the course work because it didn't make sense to me. It wasn't until I worked in a research lab and had to apply my knowledge that it started to make sense to me. From UMCP I went to General Electric Aviation where I worked on jet engine parts. I got to see a whole different world of engineering, including what to do when things are breaking in the field, how to mass produce a part, and what to think about when designing new parts. I spent three years working at GE before I decided to go back to school for my master's degree and PhD. I finished my master's degree at the University of Colorado, Boulder and am now working on my PhD. I have a NASA Aeronautics Fellowship which enables me to spend two summers at a NASA center to do research and work on my thesis. I chose to go to NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland OH where I started work on data analysis for various hypersonic vehicle (that means airplanes that go 5 times the speed of sound or more) inlets (that's the ducting that brings the air from outside to the engine).

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Education
BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park (2003) MSc in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado, Boulder (2012) PhD in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado, Boulder (exp 2015)
Volunteer Opportunities
  • 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 science fair judge or other temporary volunteer at a local school.
Latest Questions
  • Hiba, Khartoum

    Added Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    Hi I'm a high school senior who's interested in aerospace engineering but my maths teacher told me that it's safer to get a degree in mechanical engineering and then a master in aerospace. It's said that it's difficult to land a job as an aerospace engineer and that's what frightens me. I'm quite interested in both and am having a hard time choosing, can you please help?
    Answers 1
    Sibylle Walter, University of Colorado, Boulder
    Answered Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 12:08 PM
    Dear Hiba,
    
    First of: you should major in whatever you have the greater passion for. If you are passionate about aircraft or spacecraft, go for it. Things will fall into place. But if you're unsure, you might want to do mechanical ...
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  • Kassia, Hot Springs

    Added Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Hello! I am a senior in high school, getting ready to apply to colleges and figure out what sort of career I want. I am not exactly sure what I want to do yet, and this is making it difficult for me to decide where I want to go. I want to either get a degree in physics/astrophysics or in aerospace engineering, and eventually get a PhD. What sort of degrees would you recommend for aerospace engineering? Would a minor in physics work? Also, do you know of any schools that would be good for ...
    Answers 1
    Sibylle Walter, University of Colorado, Boulder
    Answered Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 11:39 AM
    Hi there.
    
    Great question! In general, astrophysicists would work more on the questions like "how does the universe work?" and "how did we get here?" and "are we alone out here?". They are scientists who look at data gathered by satellites, ...
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