My original hometown is Huntley, Illinois, which is just outside of Chicago, though I much prefer the weather here in Prescott. Despite being raised by a third-grade teacher and a land surveyor, with no engineers in my immediate or extended family, I still quickly discovered how much I loved engineering and have wanted to be an “inventor” since I was a child. I would love to go back in time and tell my younger self that I’m not only on the path to achieving that childhood dream now, but also actively taking steps towards reaching it, with success in sight.
Considering experience, I have been taking AP courses - and performing very well in them - since about sixth grade, including courses in Mandarin Chinese starting in eighth grade and AP Calculus courses during my junior year in high school. The school actually ran out of English courses to give me, considering I had completed the last AP class during my junior year, and they had to put me in a regular English 4 course because they still required four credits of English courses to graduate. In addition to AP and honors courses, I participated in STEM courses starting in my freshman year in high school, which included the course Engineering Design and Development, in which the students would work in groups to actually design and prototype a new product over the course of the year and presenting it to a panel of various engineers at the end of the year. My group and I designed, 3-D printed, and tested multiple new rain grates to be put in curbs and along streets that would minimize the effects of trash and leaves clogging the openings and leading to flooding.
My favorite of these, however, was the Aerospace Engineering STEM course that I took during my junior year of high school. This was my first introduction to Aerospace Engineering, and it is what eventually led to me applying and getting accepted to Embry-Riddle. Seen in the left hand image is the result of my favorite project in the Aerospace Engineering course: a balsa wood glider construction and adjustable flight course competition. Outside of these courses, I also took a fast-paced woodworking course and a course on the construction, testing, and maintenance of small gas engines. For the former course, we studied how to use many different tools and machines found in a wood shop and made basic items, like bar stools and cutting boards, with innovative and creative constraints on each build.
For example, with our cutting board project, we were required to design, draft, and construct a board that had to be of a certain size and be made of at least 6 different pieces. For our final project, we were instructed to make something of our own, with only the constraint that it had to be reasonable in size and cost. Personally, I had not used a lathe before and wanted to learn, so I made a wooden chess piece - the black bishop, specifically - and managed to learn how to use the lathe really well in only a couple of days.
For the latter course, the entire year was spent taking apart engines of lawnmowers and weed-whackers, studying and documenting each part and its interactions with the other internals, and finally reassembling and testing it to ensure we had reassembled it correctly. Overall, I have had quite a bit of experience in regards to drafting, designing, constructing, testing, and finalizing projects in many different ways.
As far as what I do for enjoyment, I am an enormous fan of Legos, which I suppose is to be expected, but I also love complex Gundam kits, which I find to be much more challenging and satisfying to complete, given that the instructions are entirely in Japanese. In addition to this, I enjoy writing and drawing/drafting immensely. I have been working on a novel of mine since about third grade and recently picked up the project again, designing, developing, and drawing a sort of monster manual as a supplement to the book itself. I tend to use Copic markers for all of my illustrations and would like to think that, for someone who has never taken an art course, my drawings are quite pleasing.