What did you want to be when you were five years old? A firefighter? A professional athlete? An astronaut? Those are all very typical careers a five-year-old may consider. What about me? Well, when I was five years old, I wanted to be an accountant. I know, very imaginative of me. But there were two events in my early childhood that shaped who I am and what I am doing now.
The first big moment that shaped my dreams occurred when I was six years old and had a magical experience with a telescope. My parents had recently bought me a space encyclopedia to read. I quickly became obsessed and needed to experience more. To meet my young astronomer needs, my dad grabbed his old telescope from our basement, brought it to our back deck, and helped me look up at the night sky. As I was peering through the dirty lens, I saw a fuzzy blue dot and shouted, “Uranus!” Although it was most likely a speck of dirt or stray light from my neighborhood, my immature brain was convinced that I had just seen the seventh planet in our solar system. I became even more fascinated with space and have continued to learn as much as possible through the years. That simple moment, twelve years ago, is where the mysteries of the universe pulled me in like a black hole, and I have never been able to escape since.
The second event occurred just two years later, when I was eight years old. I was on a camping trip with my friend and his parents. One night we made some Jiffy Pop on a small stove. When we were done, I took the leftover pan and bent it into a hat with the pan’s handle as the brim. My friend’s dad loved my creation and told me that I should be an engineer. As an eight-year-old, I had no clue what an engineer was, but his comment intrigued me. When I returned from the trip, I immediately Google-searched "engineer". To someone that age, an engineer is someone who makes stuff for a living. After further exploration, I discovered a specific sector of engineering: aerospace engineering. In an eight-year-old’s mind, they make stuff, and then that stuff goes into space. Wait a second… I like to make stuff… I also like space… this is my dream career. Even my immature eight-year-old brain could make the connection that aerospace engineering is the perfect field for me. Now, a decade later, I am making that dream a reality.
As I grew up, I did everything in my power to become an engineer. I fed my creativity by using anything I could get my hands on to design and build different creations. I tried my hardest in school to get into the best college. I joined clubs like FIRST Robotics and took engineering classes to further develop my engineering knowledge. I fell in love with the idea of learning the math and physics behind everyday products. All of that work led me to junior and senior year where I needed to start looking and applying to colleges. I applied to many colleges, but my top choice was Purdue University. Purdue has a rich connection to engineering as a whole and aerospace engineering specifically. They have become known as the cradle of astronauts due to the 25 astronaut alumni. The most famous astronaut, Neil Armstrong, even went to Purdue. They really embrace their history with aerospace engineering and put a lot of effort into making it the best. That is why they are ranked fifth nationally. Luckily, when I got my decision letter, I was accepted, and I was one step closer to realizing my decade-long dream of becoming an aerospace engineer.
I started classes at Purdue in August of 2020, during the middle of the global pandemic. Although the campus life was dulled by COVID-19 restrictions, I still found college to be an exciting place. My whole life I had wanted to become an engineer and now here I was, taking the same classes that Neil Armstrong took. It is truly a surreal experience. My ambitions as an engineer have changed slightly over the years. I am majoring in mechanical engineering with a concentration in aerospace instead of aerospace engineering. However, I still have the same dream: to work on spacecraft and related instruments to aid in space exploration. Every day, I am so grateful for where I am, and that I am able to learn about how the world works. So far, it has been everything that I thought it would be and more. I know that in order to succeed in this competitive industry, I will need to gain real-world experience to separate myself from others.
That brings me here, to Indium Corporation, an electronics manufacturing company that makes a wide variety of products that I will use in my future career. It has been a wonderful experience, being able to observe the engineering process in action. You can learn about it in school all you want, but it does not compare to actually experiencing it in person. Every aspect of the company works together to create a finished product that meets the customer’s needs. This summer, I am the Production Engineer Intern. Before this internship, I vaguely knew about production engineering. Now, after being here only a few weeks, I can see the significance of this role. The purpose of a production engineer is to optimize the manufacturing process. Every company tries to minimize their costs, and being able to streamline a process and remove any unnecessary costs helps accomplish that goal. In the future, I hope to be designing, building, or testing spacecraft and instruments. Being able to think from a production engineer’s perspective, as well as a mechanical engineer’s, will allow me to be a huge asset.
Now, you may be thinking, “Why did you write this blog?” Well, there are a few reasons. First, I wanted to share my gratitude for Indium Corporation, for everyone who has helped me, and for allowing me this amazing experience. I have only been here for a few weeks, and I can already tell that Indium Corporation is an amazing company. Even though we are interns, they treat us like full-time employees with our own desk, laptop, phone, and more. It has been a great introduction to my first “real job.” The second reason is to show whoever is reading this, whether you are a prospective intern, an employee, or a complete stranger, that you should always pursue your dreams. When I was eight years old, my dream was to become an aerospace engineer. Now, at eighteen, I am finally making that dream come true. It took a lot of hard work and dedication, but to see it come to life is a crazy and invigorating feeling. Any idea, no matter how big or small, is worth pursuing. From the movies we see to the technology we interact with daily, everything important in life starts out with an idea and a dream to make it a reality. Without the “small steps” from all the dreamers around the world, there would be no “giant leaps for mankind.”
Thank you for reading my first blog post. I hope that you got something out of it, and I hope that you are living your dream, whatever it may be. I look forward to posting more and keeping everyone updated on the multiple projects I have been tasked with this summer.