Aranda blends coursework with extra-curricular, now career
Design Build Fly has been a bit of a theme for Jorge Aranda’s undergraduate years at the University of Illinois. Aranda participated in the DBF registered student organization every year and took AE199—a course that teaches aircraft design and is taken by many of the active members of DBF. He completed his B.S. in aerospace engineering in December and will be starting a new job at Boeing soon. Originally from Mundelein, Illinois, Aranda said one of the reasons he graduated a semester later was an academic plan that could accommodate his class schedule, intern opportunities, and his work with Design Build Fly.
Here are more of his reflections on his education at Illinois.
I had four internships total as an undergrad. The first two with the Illinois Department of Transportation doing material testing for highway projects and assisting regional engineers in the field with ongoing projects. The last two were with the Boeing Company. In Seattle, Washington, I had the opportunity to do aeroelasticity, acoustic, and loads work on the P-8 aircraft—a Boeing 737 derivative submarine hunter. Last summer, I was in St. Louis, Missouri primarily working on updating an aircraft performance software for Boeing's Phantom Works division.
Favorite class/professor -
Without a doubt my favorite course and professor are AE199 – Design Build Fly course with Professor Merret. The AE199 - DBF course is a great course for understanding the fundamentals of flight mechanics and aircraft structures. The course as a whole is really a how airplanes work and fly intuition builder which is incredibly valuable to have as an aerospace engineering student. Last but not least, having had the opportunity to be the president of the 2018-19 U of I DBF team has been by far the most demanding, challenging, and rewarding part of my time as a college student.
Both in my role as DBF president and as an Illinois engineering student, I could not have asked for a better faculty advisor and professor than Professor Merret. He has been outstanding in providing help, resources, and his own free time to, not just DBF, but to all his students. His commitment to putting out world-class aerospace engineers is his clear objective. He has definitely been a professional engineering role model to me. I will remember that.
After my first internship with Boeing, I had the privilege of receiving an offer for their Phantom Works division at St. Louis. I will be starting full-time employment in Boeing Phantom Works this February working on proprietary programs. Meanwhile I am solo-traveling in Europe! I'll be visiting Spain, Portugal, Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, and Switzerland for a month.
Any advice for undergrads?
It's not enough to learn what is taught to you. You have to teach and apply yourself. Design Build Fly was an excellent medium for applying myself, so find your Design Build Fly. Ultimately, my years as an undergrad taught me how to learn and teach myself new things and apply myself as a young professional. As a wise person once said, luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.
Parting thoughts -
I came into AE at Illinois feeling as though I was a guest. Now, I leave AE at Illinois feeling as if I’m leaving my family home. As for Design Build Fly at Illinois, I look forward to more success in the future. Dream high and fly-on!