Recent Grads Adjust Well to Life After CU-Boulder

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Celeste Cizik

Architectural Engineering

Celeste Cizik, the engineering school's December 2002 outstanding graduate, works as a mechanical systems project engineer for Beaudin Ganze Consulting Engineers in Lakewood, Colorado, expanding on the sustainable design expertise she gained as a member of CU's first-place 2002 Solar Decathlon team.

"Being a member of the Solar Decathlon team in college was a great benefit moving into my career," says Cizik. "Working with a team of engineers and architects on a project that was actually built and operational gave me important experience with team meetings, detailed coordination, and seeing a project through to completion."

In her role at Beaudin Ganze, Cizik designs mechanical systems for a wide variety of projects, including multi-family residential and commercial buildings, and schools. One reason she chose the company was its commitment to projects that meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard, the highest environmental and energy efficiency standard certification available.

"I focused my job search on companies that had LEED-accredited professionals. Beaudin Ganze had both LEED-APs and a decent list of sustainable projects," she says. "My passion is really to make projects as energy efficient as possible, and I've had the opportunity to work with some really good teams on some energy-efficient and LEED-rated projects. Not all projects have an emphasis on energy efficiency, but it's something I still strive for."

Gilmer, since graduating from CU-Boulder with degrees in aerospace engineering and astrophysics in 2004, has begun a career in systems engineering at Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Boulder.

"Right now at Northrop I'm a systems engineer doing integration and tests for a satellite system," he says. "It's a lot of fun. I've been here for a year and a half now. The people are great, and I actually just started in a new department at the start of the year. I'm basically working on projects and applications for the government. In the future, my goal is to do more propulsion-based research if I can."

As an alumnus he has stayed involved with the university by participating in the Theta Tau professional engineering fraternity, on-campus High School Honors Institutes, and College of Engineering and Applied Science fundraising efforts—activities that Gilmer says are simply a matter of giving back.

"Being in Boulder, I still get to interact with the College of Engineering, and it's always fun. I interact with my fraternity on campus, which is a co-ed professional engineering fraternity at the Engineering Center there, and it's nice to see where (the students) are and give them some hints as far as what they should pay attention to. I tell them the same stuff that I appreciated hearing from the alums that I knew when I was in college."

Aerospace alumnus Ryan Olds is working for Lockheed Martin on mission operations for the Spitzer Space Telescope and also has been involved in engineering design and development for the Phoenix Mars Lander launch set for August 2007.

"I got hired right out of school," says Olds. "The people here at Lockheed really liked my resumé. I gained valuable experience with the Colorado Space Grant Consortium at the university and had taken some aerospace classes that Lockheed felt were very beneficial. A lot of the stuff I learned at CU has carried over very well in my job."

The Spitzer Space Telescope was launched in 2003 with a mission to capture images and spectra by detecting the infrared energy of objects that cannot be observed from the Earth's surface. In his role, Olds works on the attitude control sub-team, reading daily data from the telescope and making calibration adjustments to ensure performance.

On the Phoenix Mars Lander, designed to continue the search for water on Mars by landing near one of the poles and selecting, heating, and analyzing samples from beneath the planet's surface, Olds is working on simulations of various landing trajectories, ensuring that all possible scenarios have been properly addressed in the design and programming of the lander's navigation system.

"Coming out of CU, I feel like I was very well prepared to contribute right away at Lockheed Martin," says Olds. "Students in the aerospace program do a lot of lab-based classes now, and there have been a lot of people here who have commented about how well prepared graduates of the aerospace program at CU are."

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