Aerospace engineering sciences student Steven Wilson won first place at the April 2006 Discovery Learning Symposium for his oral presentation highlighting his work on the Global Positioning System (GPS) Signal Monitoring project.
His discovery learning project involved using a GPS satellite-based navigation system, which originally was designed for military applications but also supports a wealth of civil-based applications from aircraft navigation to cellular phone synchronization. It is owned and operated by the U.S. Department of Defense. The GPS Signal Monitoring Project’s objective is to help the Air Force determine the status and fidelity of the satellite’s transmission, which is received by an antenna and converted from analog to digital format for processing and analysis by a computer. The data is then collected in a facility in Brussels, Belgium. He says the discovery apprenticeship has been important because it introduced him to professors and other research students outside of the classroom environment.
“The Discovery Learning Apprenticeship Program prepares you for real-life experience as opposed to just sitting in a classroom,” Steven says. This interaction has helped further his academic and career goals. Steven enjoyed his discovery learning work experience, in part because he was able to travel and work with the Air Force on GPS technology. He found his project work meaningful and appreciated gaining hands-on experience.
Currently enrolled in the five-year BS/MS concurrent degree program, he had a summer internship with Boeing in Seattle, working in the Integrated Defense Department. He says without the Discovery Learning Apprenticeship Program, and the associated research that prepared him for work in industry, he would not have been selected for this opportunity.