The March Student Spotlight highlights how e+ student, Glenda Alvarenga, has navigated her degree in Engineering Plus; Aerospace Emphasis + Engineering Management. Through her many experiences, such as at the Colorado Space Grant Consortium and as an intern at Ball Aerospace, Glenda learned the value of collaboration and real-world experience. Read more about Glenda's studies, advice, and her involvement in the e+ community!
My Emphasis is Aerospace Engineering with a Concentration in Engineering Management. These two topics combined really compliment my interests in space systems engineering as well as the project engineering side of space missions which I hope to continue to be involved in through the long term. I am very interested in how an end to end space system works but also really interested in making sure it meets the criteria it needs to in order to be a successful mission.
I have been involved at the Colorado Space Grant Consortium which is part of a national program funded by NASA. Space Grant has given me the opportunity to get hands on experience in working on satellite missions. Most recently I was the project manager of a CubeSat mission, PolarCube for three years which really gave me insight in spacecraft systems as well as experience in managing a team of students while interacting with one of our primary stakeholders like Air Force Research Labs. Space Grant is a great way to get hands on experience and work with industry mentors to get practical skills. It is a very welcoming environment since it offers such a wide range of projects for all different levels of skill sets.
One of the major lessons learned from working at Space Grant and working as an intern at Ball Aerospace is that it is really valuable to never be shy to ask questions. Curiosity and eagerness to learn are not only attributes needed to succeed in academics but are two fundamental attributes needed to make an impact on a project or mission. Having both of those attributes really enables a group of engineering students (or engineers in industry) to work through understanding design problems and finding innovative solutions.
My favorite Engineering Plus course is tied between GEEN 2400 and GEEN 3400. Engineering Projects for the Community really offered a sense of purpose to the project since at the end of the semester I was able to deliver my project to someone that would use it and helped me tailor it to their needs. Engineering Invention and Innovation was a class that let me think outside the box and also helped me learn about how to market an engineering idea which is extremely valuable in industry. Both courses also were really hands on and provide a lot of workshops through the ITLL for technical skill building.
If a student is looking to get involved in Engineering Plus, I would advise him/her to get excited about learning to collaborate with students and staff. Engineering Plus is unique in that it gives students the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary teams to problem solve throughout their entire undergraduate career, which not only models how industry works but also enables a sense of community for all of the e+ students at CU Boulder.