Why did you choose to attend UB?
I chose to attend UB because of the reputation of the engineering school. I had family in the area, and I had been visiting Buffalo for many years before I graduated high school. When the time came to look for colleges, UB presented an excellent education at a great value, and I fell in love with the school.
Why did you decide to major in MAE?
I decided to major in MAE to follow my interests and satisfy my desire to tinker. My father got his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering, so he advised me on what the possible career paths were for an ME. I also had a fascination with aircraft and spacecraft as a child (and still do…). The dual degree in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering gave me an opportunity to pursue both degrees!
What is your favorite thing about living in Buffalo?
What I love about living in Buffalo is the emerging growth of the city, and more specifically, the start-up community. Buffalo is on the cusp of becoming the next hub for tech start-ups, and living here allows me to be a part of that movement during my career.
What was your involvement outside the classroom?
Outside of the classroom, I keep myself busy. I currently own a product development consulting firm, Aurora Solutions. Since the beginning of my Junior Year, I had been working in the start-up space in downtown Buffalo as an “intern engineer”. This past summer, I saw a few opportunities to potentially make a career out of product development. I had the technical skills of product design, product analysis, manufacturing, and others; while I also had the communication skills and professional network necessary to form a reputable consulting firm. I now currently work with six clients, developing products including OnCore Golf’s GENiUS Ball, a small medical device patch, and various products ranging from electric motor driven devices to hair care appliances. Over the last eight months, I have been able to grow my business, and I have been happy with the output. My next step is exploring how to expand my business beyond myself, and possibly entering the Start-Up NY Program.
Were you involved in internships and/or undergraduate research? What was that like?
I was an intern at Moog Aircraft Group in East Aurora from the Summer of 2016 until the Summer of 2017. I worked as a product engineer on the Boeing 787 hydraulic primary flight control system, as well as the Airbus A350 hydraulic primary flight control system. These experiences gave me my first experience in industry and in a corporate engineering environment. I learned many technical skills, but I learned just as many non-technical skills. Interning at Moog taught me time management, professional, and organizational skills that I use today at UB and at my company. I certainly would not be able to do what I do now if I had not had my experience at Moog. I was also part of an undergraduate research team for two projects during my freshman and sophomore year. These projects were centered around piezoelectric actuators. The first project was creating a variable-camber wing, that the team ended up testing in UB’s wind tunnel. The goal of this project was to adjust the camber of a wing without using any servo control actuators, thus increasing the efficiency of the wing. Our team won a CURCA grant for this project as well. The second project was creating a moving surface boundary layer, using two piezoelectric actuators to create a traveling wave. The goal of this project was to increase the angle of attack at which stall occurs by reducing flow separation.
What makes your UB story unique or noteworthy?
My UB story is unique because I was able to do a little bit of everything that a UB Engineer can do. I began by participating in two undergraduate research projects. From there, I became a Student Leader for EAS 140 (now EAS 199). After my sophomore year, I began a 16-month period of gaining industry experience at Moog. After my time at Moog, I became a TA for EAS 199, and subsequently started my own business. Between my research, internship, teaching experience, and entrepreneurship, I believe that I was able to get “a little bit of everything” from UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, as well as the Buffalo community.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to commit myself to growing my company. I will also return as a graduate student to pursue my Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, with a focus in Design and Optimization. In the future, I would also like to return to get my MBA.
What is your advice to current and incoming MAE students?
My advice to current and incoming MAE students is to use the resources available to you to achieve your goal. Get as many different experiences as possible while you are here. Don’t follow the narrative that you are not a true engineer until you graduate. As an undergrad student, you can still do some really cool and technical things. Also, always push yourself to what you limit is. Each semester you will get busier, and you will realize that you had a lot of free time in past semesters that you could have filled with other things. Take advantage of that time!