United States Air Force
University of Iowa, B.S. in Industrial/Human Factors Engineering
I applied for the Iowa Space Grant Consortium (ISGC) programs and received a scholarship entering my sophomore year at the University of Iowa. This opportunity connected me to Dr. Tom Schnell’s Operator Performance Lab where I worked throughout the rest of my time at Iowa. Through my employment at the Operator Performance Lab (OPL) I was involved in various aspects of experimental design focused on human operators of both automobiles and aircraft. I participated in a lot of design and fabrication of equipment to support the studies and prepared data collection equipment. Additionally, I assisted with testing subjects in both aircraft and vehicles as well as simulators of each. I was able to learn and work directly on these studies from experiment inception to execution. The work at the OPL, which the ISGC connected me with, was the catalyst I needed to pursue a career in the military. I’ve had the unique opportunity to work on and see great success directly related to research that I was able to perform at Iowa. In the summer of 2018, I was able to lead a technical demonstration through Air Force Research Lab that culminated in several flight test events showing how virtual and simulated environments could augment live aircraft training. I was able to add to the program’s success because of the experiences afforded to me by the ISGC.
If I could give a piece of advice to students just starting out in their STEM careers it would be this; don’t define yourself by the titles of your degree, various projects, or thesis. Rather, build on your ability to solve complex problems in complex teams regardless of the roles and positions you end up in. Sometimes engineers get the unique opportunity to lead others in management roles…those are not opportunities to shy away from, but to embrace and step up to the challenge.
As I look forward, I currently plan to continue my military career until I’m no longer able to make a positive difference in whatever the Air Force asks me to do or it no longer makes sense for my family to continue. This summer I get the pleasure of commissioning my wife into the Air Force and watch as her journey begins.