UPES taught me to face the real world and strive for excellence
My college life was exciting, where I experienced ups and downs, along with victorious moments
I read the biography of Kalpana Chawala, an American astronaut, engineer, and the first woman of Indian origin to go to space. I was in 10th standard back then and that very moment I developed a keen interest in space. With an aim and passion to become an astronaut, I only wanted to pursue aerospace engineering.
Fortunately, I got selected in UPES for B.Tech in Aerospace Engineering. My academic journey in UPES was a roller coaster ride. I got selected for an astrophysics research internship program. I took up managerial roles at the Infinity Space Club. I was also a part of the international exchange program and got the golden opportunity to study at the prestigious Coventry University, UK. Those six months of studying in a new country were a great learning experience for me. International exposure taught me the method of implementation-based education.
Curiosity and zeal to gain knowledge about the aerospace field opened doors for active engagement in various projects and research work apart from academics. I represented my country at the CANSAT competition, where I worked in a team of 21 students. After a year-long dedication, my team stood first in the competition. I was also a part of the engineering team for the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering competition 2017 held at Spaceport America. The competition involved the design and fabrication of a sound rocket aiming a height of 1000 feet, deploying a functional payload, and then successfully recovering it. UPES’s aerospace department encouraged me to take part in these competitions.
Going to the United States as a participant in one of the competitions proved to be a breakthrough in my aerospace career. Academic knowledge in subjects such as physics and mathematics and letter of recommendations from the aerospace department allowed me to pursue a student researcher program in the astrophysics department at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Mumbai, India’s prime facility for pure sciences.
I also got an opportunity to organise various space engineering events such as the region’s first National Space Convention as the public relations head of Infinity space club supported by the Aerospace Department.
Based on these achievements in my undergraduation, I was also awarded an academic scholarship for my master’s at International Space University (ISU), France. I was able to put the engineering knowledge gained from UPES’s programs like propulsion, mechanics, and the fundamentals of PCM subjects during my masters.
Currently, I am doing my internship in the mechanical design of an attitude control system for a microsatellite in the Netherlands. Most of my work is based on the practical implication of undergraduation courses like the theory of machines (TOM), the strength of machine elements (SOM), design of machines (DOM), aerospace materials, and their respective lab experimentation work. I wish to continue working in the mechanical design of space systems in the near future and gradually work towards my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut.
UPES has given a kick-starter to my career goals. I am grateful to UPES as I cannot believe how much I have learned during my undergraduation. UPES gave me international exposure, expertise in the subject, and interpersonal skills. UPES aerospace department supported me and helped me get to where I am now and where I will be going in the future. The only thing I would like to tell my juniors is to enjoy the rise and the falls. I had the time of my life, and I cannot wait to soar into the world of infinite possibilities.
(The writer is an alumna of UPES School of Engineering)