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Pathways for MechE in aerospace

  1. Oct 21, 2015 #1
    Hi everyone!
    I'm at the end of the second semester in an mechanical engineering undergraduate course. I love spacecrafts, rocketry, aircraft and all that aerospace stuff, so I'm decided that, so long I finish my undergraduate, I'm going to pursue a major in aerospace (maybe something related to propulsion?). Working at NASA is like an old dream to me.
    So I've been thinking... What would be the pathways for a MechE student wishing to work in the aerospace field in the future? I mean... I already plan to take some classes on aerospace at my college: aerospace sciences, aerospace systems, aerospace propulsion... And we've got a
    aeromodelling group at mechanical engineering. But besides that, what kind of opportunities should I seek in college?
    I've read something about NASA internship programs, and I think that's really worth trying. I live in Brazil, and here we ain't got much of a field in aerospace. Because of that, I'm likely moving to somewhere else to pursue my master's degree.
    So, any hints?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 21, 2015 #2


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    Take electives that get you into the field you wish to pursue. I was a mechanical engineering undergraduate and eventually got a PhD in aerospace engineering. Really the biggest thing I did was take some additional electives in fluid mechanics since that is primarily where my interests lied. I also interned at an aerospace company for two summers while I was an undergraduate. Aerospace companies hire large numbers of mechanical engineers as well, so it is very common to work in aerospace as a mechanical engineer.

    Well Embraer is pretty big. I recently attended a conference with a bunch of people from Universidade de São Paulo doing aerospace research. Of course, it is not the size of the aerospace industry here in the States, but it's certainly not the worst place for aerospace either.
  4. Oct 21, 2015 #3
    Yes, if I'm staying in Brazil, Embraer is probably the place I will be looking for a job. I'm really into aircraft industry, but like I said, working with space stuff - rocketry! - is an old dream. Embraer does makes some research into the space field, I think. But their main field is aviation. Here in Brazil we've got ITA too (Instituto de Tecnologia da Aeronaútica, or Air Force Institute of Technology), which is our biggest college in aeronautics and aerospace, and even if I don't study there, maybe I will try to do my major there in the future.

    Yet, I would gladly welcome any opportunities for studying abroad. I would like to enhance my english and establish some contacts that could help me get internships at great aerospace companies in the States - or Europe, i don't know.

    And what i said about NASA... Well, I know it's tough to get into there, and I know that they do not have a lot of employed scientists and engineers. But even indirectly, I would love to be part of something big - like the New Horizons probe. For example, I've found that the New Horizons was designed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. It would be cool to be part of the team that built it, knowing that something you helped to do is out in space, as far as Pluto. That's not the kind of thing we've got in Brazil. Here, we don't have much of government support in scientific research. To be honest, government support in scientific research here is virtually zero, especially now that we are at the middle of a political crisis and education funds are being cut.
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