Outstanding Undergraduate for Academic Achievement Paul Salame
Paul Salame is a mechanical engineering student being awarded an Outstanding Undergraduate for Academic Achievement Award from the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Learn more about him and his accomplishments in the Q&A below.
Share about your background and what led you to study engineering.
As a child, I loved to build things like Legos and Bionicles. In high school, I found that I really enjoyed math, physics and computers. When I got accepted to CU Boulder, I knew I wanted to do some type of engineering, but I didn’t know which major to pick. During the first semester, I learned more about the different fields of engineering. Eventually, I decided to go with mechanical engineering, because it is so broad and has applications in many different fields. I also added on a computer science minor, because I believe it is important for all engineers to feel comfortable writing computer code. I am very happy with my choices in education, and I am excited to jump into full-time engineering work.
What does the award you are receiving mean to you?
I am honored to receive this award. To me, the award serves as a reminder of the hard work that goes into completing an engineering degree. It also represents the support from all of my friends, teachers and classmates who helped me learn so much during my time at the CU Boulder.
Share an accomplishment from your time at CU Boulder that you are most proud of.
I am very proud of the senior design project my team and I built last year. We developed a motion stabilization system for NOAA. This project challenged me to develop skills in both control systems and project planning. My team recently came to learn that the system has been deployed by NOAA and is exceeding expectations. It feels very rewarding to have a system that I helped build being used successfully out in the real world.
Paul Salame with the motion stabilization he and his senior design team developed for NOAA at the 2019 Engineering Projects Expo.
How have you gotten involved throughout your college career?
During my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to work as a learning assistant for Calculus 2 in Applied Math. During my junior and senior years, I conducted research alongside Assistant Professor Sanghamitra Neogi in aerospace materials science. I found this position through the Discovery Learning Apprenticeship (DLA) program. During my fifth year, I served as a teaching assistant for system dynamics alongside Senior Instructor Shalom Ruben. Finally, I have had four summer internships at companies including Digital Wave Corporation and Lockheed Martin Space. Each of these experiences has been invaluable in broadening my technical knowledge as well as improving my communication and teaching skills.
If you could relive any moment from your college career, what would it be?
The moment that I would relive would be the CU Engineering Projects Expo at the end of senior design. It truly felt like a culmination of all the work and effort my team had put in over the course of the year. At that moment, we were able to simply feel proud of our project and what we had built.
What do you plan to pursue post-graduation?
I have accepted a job offer with Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado. I will be part of the Guidance, Navigation, and Control group for Deep Space satellites. I worked with this group during my most recent summer internship, and I am very excited to return to work there.
What is the impact you hope to have on the world?
I hope that by working as an engineer, I can continue to support and advance the technologies that make our world exciting. In particular, I would be very excited to contribute to the development of the Moon and the exploration of Mars. I also hope that the projects that I work on will help to inspire future generations to pursue science and engineering so that they may continue to develop the understanding and technology of our world.
Any closing remarks?
I would like to thank my family for supporting me and making my engineering career possible. I would also like to thank all the academic advisors who I interacted with. Their advice was invaluable, especially for a young college student who wasn’t sure of what he wanted to study. Finally, I would like to thank my teachers and my classmates for turning a difficult engineering program into a fun and memorable experience.