Alumni Profile

Kalli Haverkamp

Kalli Haverkamp skiing on a mountain.

In my previous position I worked on actuators that went onto the upper stages of the Atlas V rocket. I think one of the coolest memories I had was watching my first launch while I was on the program. I got to see the actuator I had worked on moving the rocket nozzle of the upper stage in space with the Earth in the background. Admittedly, I think I may have gotten a bit misty eyed."

Where I've Been

Cities

  • Buffalo, NY
  • Würzburg, Germany
  • Kiruna, Sweden 
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Cranfield, England
  • Manhattan Beach, CA

Organizations

  • Moog Inc. Space and Defense
  • The Boeing Company Satellite Systems

Positions

  • Product Engineering and Analysis Engineering Co-op: Moog Inc. 
  • Product Engineer: Moog Inc. 
  • Satellite Systems Rotation Program: The Boeing Company (First rotation = Government Satellite Systems Business development)

What I've Done

What types of work have you performed? What projects have you worked on?
In my jobs I've gotten to work on the Space Shuttle Main Engine & SRB EH Actuators, Atlas V Upper Stage EM Actuator, Arianne V Propellant Valve Assembly, Wideband Global Satcom Satellite Constellation, Protected Tactical Enterprise Services (Satellite Ground Segment), Protected Tactical Satcom Satellite Constellation

What have been some favorite aspects of your work?
There's so many amazing aspects about being an engineer. One great part is the flexibility that it allows you in so many aspects of your life. Having an engineering degree can open a door into almost any industry or area that you are passionate about. Once you have your degree no one can ever take it away from you, and that is a very powerful thing.

Personally, I'm a space nerd which is why I chose engineering in the first place. Engineering has allowed me to work on some amazing spacecraft, and has also given me some incredible opportunities. For example when I was at UB I was able to participate in a NASA program through AIAA and got to go on the vomit comet!

What was one of your most satisfying days as an engineer?
In my previous position I worked on actuators that went onto the upper stages of the Atlas V rocket. I think one of the coolest memories I had was watching my first launch while I was on the program. I got to see the actuator I had worked on moving the rocket nozzle of the upper stage in space with the Earth in the background. Admittedly, I think I may have gotten a bit misty eyed.

In my current position I help to write proposals for Government Satellite Systems, trying to win business by offering our cutting edge technology solutions. A couple weeks ago I found out that we won the program that was the first proposal I worked on, bringing in +$380M for the company.

Was it worth it? What has your engineering background made possible for you? What value has it added to your overall life?
100% it has been worth it! I have always been very passionate about space and also travelling. After graduating from UB undergrad I worked for a couple years in industry and then realized that I wanted to go back for my Master's. I thought it might be cool to try and combine both of my passions - so I looked for international Master's programs. Ultimately, I found a program that I loved which allowed me to study degrees in Space Science and Technology, and Astronautics and Space Engineering. It also let me study in Wurzburg Germany, Kiruna Sweden (90 mi north of the Arctic Circle!), and Cranfield England....all for free! After my Master's I landed my dream job working on satellites in LA. It is all because I worked hard and got an awesome education while I was at UB :)

Why it Matters

What would you say to the freshmen currently sitting in your shoes?
There were multiple times that I remember getting to the point where I was ready to switch majors or was convinced that engineering wasn't for me. There are bound to be a couple classes that aren't your favorite or don't quite click. Hang in there, it happens to everyone!

I recently worked with a lot of folks that are in the business side of things. Through various conversations I have found that it is much harder for people with a business background to climb the executive ranks in a tech company than it is for someone with an engineering background. If you can stick with engineering you are setting yourself up well for a successful career!