Meet AE graduate Ryan Noe, BS '19
Ryan Noe, originally from Spring Bay, Illinois, graduated this past month with a B.S. in aerospace engineering. He transferred to the University of Illinois from Illinois Central College in 2016. Although he could have graduated in May 2018, he accepted a NASA Pathways Internship, which added an additional year. Noe also chose to add one semester so that he would have some extra time in his schedule for research and student extracurricular activities.
Here are some of his reflections on his years at the U of I and his future plans.
I spent the summer of 2017 at Rolls-Royce North America in Indianapolis working with the Safety and Reliability Engineering team. I was also a NASA Pathways Intern at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. I performed four internship rotations at NASA-JSC (Fall '17, Summer '18, Spring '19, Summer '19). I really valued my rotations at JSC as they gave me the chance to contribute to current and upcoming flight projects.
My first rotation was in the Energy Systems Test Branch where I worked as a test engineer with pressure systems supporting the International Space Station, Orion Spacecraft, and Mars research. My second rotation was at Ellington Airfield where I supported their fleet of T-38N, Super Guppy, Gulfstream, and WB-57 research aircraft as a structures and repair engineer. My third rotation was in the Crew and Thermal Systems Test Branch where I supported Thermal Vacuum Tests and assisted in the implementation of an updated radiant heating method for large solar array tests. My last rotation was in the Habitability and Human Factors Branch where I supported Human-In-The-Loop testing for the Orion Spacecraft. My work included outfitting the high-fidelity Orion mockup and testing contingency crew egress methods in the event the Orion capsule lands in off-nominal orientations.
Throughout my rotations I was also active with the intern community and it was a great way to network with other passionate aerospace students.
Memorable class/professor -
I think AE311/AE312/AE460 are a three-way tie for my favorite classes. I happened to have Dr. Woodard for all three due to my shifted semesters and plain luck. Learning the basics of fluid flow and applying them to lab applications was what really made me feel like I had made it as an aerospace engineering student. Although I probably won't be using much fluid flow knowledge in my current career path, it was definitely my favorite set of courses due to the material and Dr. Woodard's teaching style. He also supported my efforts to teach the AE199-Intro to Rocketry course with the Illinois Space Society.
In March, I'll be starting at full-time job at NASA-JSC as a human factors engineer supporting the Orion Spacecraft. In the time I have before I move to Houston, I have a few trips planned to visit friends and family across the country.
Longer term - I definitely will continue to learn and find new skills that interest me while working at JSC. Although I'm not planning to get a master’s degree yet, I am interested in becoming more proficient in manufacturing methods and will likely take a few classes at a Houston trade school. I'm also really looking forward to renewing my interest in hobbies like model building and art in my free time.
Any advice for undergrads?
Don't be afraid to put yourself into situations outside of your comfort zone early in your time at Illinois. As a transfer student, I made a conscious effort to jump into a variety of research, leadership, and project opportunities in an effort to make new friends and have new adventures. Without this effort I may not have joined the Illinois Space Society, where I met some of my closest friends in college. So don't be afraid to try new projects or research opportunities as it allows you to find new interests while meeting awesome people.
Parting thoughts -
AE at Illinois allowed me to explore the field of aerospace engineering alongside other passionate AE students. I wouldn't be on the same path today without the support of the Illinois Space Society. In my opinion, getting involved in registered student organizations like ISS gives undergrads opportunities to develop technical and soft skills before doing an internship or making career decisions, while also building a network of friends.