Aerospace Science Engineering Students and Alumni

In an effort to bring students and alumni together for sharing experiences and answering questions, the following testimonials have been compiled in order to highlight the department's outstanding current students and alumni.

Read on to learn what students and alumni are doing, what they say about Tuskegee University and their words of wisdom/inspiration for all aerospace enthusiasts.

FUTURE MARS ASTRONAUT

CRESHENDA "Tia'" SANDS

CreShenda "Tia'" Sands is a graduating senior originally from Northern Virginia (DC metro area) currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in aerospace science engineering. Sands has always expressed a vast interest in space technology and flight, determining her life at a very young age. While at Tuskegee, she has received several opportunities of enhancing her field of study through various experiences, one in particular was with the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Hanksville, Utah.

MDRS is a special project developed by the Mars Society, a group of people whose interest is to colonize Mars. "The purpose of the Mars Analog Research Station (MARS) is to learn how it feels to live and work on another planet," she says.

Sands was the first African-American to be selected for a crew (Crew 51), a highly prestigious honor that she holds dear to her heart. As a Crew 51 team member she was the crew engineer and the executive officer. Her job description as an operation systems technician includes conducting inspection and updating the user manuals, reading and recording data of operational systems.

Sands is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the Arnold Air Society, a primary service organization for the Air Force. After graduation she plans on pursuing a master's degree in software engineering and eventually enrolling in the astronaut program.

"All my future aspirations, my foundation and ambitions are forever enriched in me due to Tuskegee University," she says.

OUTSTANDING AIR FORCE CADET

TARYRECE CULBERSON-SWINT

Taryrece Culberson-Swint, a native of Atlanta/Hogansville, Georgia, is a senior at Tuskegee University majoring in aerospace science engineering. He first received classroom and hands-on experience in engineering at the Tuskegee University as a participant in the Freshman Accelerated Start-up and Training for Retention in Engineering Curriculum (FASTREC) in the summer of 2003.

An Air Force cadet and Wing Commaner, the highest position obtained in the ROTC program, Swint was inspired by the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen which leads him to pursue a career as a pilot in the United States Air Force. "The legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen made my decision for what school to attend so very apparent," he says.

Swint is also involved with many other activities to include the Arnold Air Society, an Air Force Service organization based on the cadet's excellence and leadership. He is vice president of the Tuskegee University Chapter of NAACP, secretary of AIAA and a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Lagrange, Ga. After graduation, Swint aspires to obtain a master's degree, attend Test Pilot School and eventually apply for the Astronaut Program.

Swint says, "It has been a life long dream to become an astronaut and I plan to make it a reality."

CURRENT NASA EMPLOYEE

Brittany Gay
    Look at Brittany's Bio video here.

Dean Martinez

I graduated from Tuskegee with a B.S. in Aerospace Science Engineering in 1991.

My present employer: ATK Thiokol Propulsion Group (formerly Thiokol Corporation).

My E-mail address: dean.martinez@thiokol.com

I currently perform post flight assessment of the RSRM (reusable solid rocket motor) that propels the U.S. Space Shuttle into orbit. Post flight is performed at Kennedy Space Center (FL) and Clearfield (UT).

Tuskegee University has an excellent reputation world wide and as such, its graduates are highly marketable. Its Engineering programs are very much respected and ABET's accreditation counts for a lot in the school's earning international respect. A degree in A.E. will open doors in many areas including space, defense and R&D just to name a few. Think of all the work to be done with the space station (exploring other planets) and in defense (the national defense system) and R&D (technology and processes not yet developed). TU isn't just about the 4 years spent earning a degree, it's about the fabulous speakers the school regularly invites to speak, it's about the bonds built between students and instructors and about the bonds built with other HBCUs. A degree from TU is more than a piece of paper saying you've studied a specific area, it's about the Tuskegee Experience that is life altering. It is certainly worth the price.

Mark H. Gray

Work Address:
International Space Station (ISS)
MOD/Mechanisms & Maintenance (OSO)

Work: 281.483.0144
Pager: 281.434.8771

E-mail: mark.h.gray1@jsc.nasa.gov

MAY 1990 Graduate

Company
United Space Alliance (USA), Hosuton Texas

Job Title
International Space Station Flight Controller and Astronaunt Instructor

Responsibilites
I am working in Mission Control Center-Houston (MCC-H) as and International Space Station Flight Controller during the Joint Space Shuttle/International Space Station Mission (STS-100/6A).

Renee' Rodgers

B.S. Aerospace Engineering - 1995

Tuskegee University

Currently in the PhD program in Materials Science Engineering at Tuskegee University. Also on educational leave of absence from Cessna Aircraft Company to accomplish this.

Words of motivation: A degree in Aerospace Engineering will open doors to a variety of exciting careers. Reach for the stars, there are no limits.

Kwame Royal

Year of BS: 1998

E-mail: kwameroyal@aol.com

Present Employer

The Boeing Company Commercial Aircraft Group

Work Responsibilities

My first two and a half years I worked as a design engineer supporting the 747 program. I currently work in Product Development as a Loads and Dynamics Analyst. I determine aerodynamic loads via wind tunnel testing. I am currently working on the Sonic Cruiser.

Why should one pursue a BS in AE

To me an Aerospace Engineer is the Ultimate Engineer. What is more mind-blowing than a 747 taking off at full throttle....probably a F-15E or the Space Shuttle. To make my point, aerospace engineers are responsible for the creation of such masterpieces. Presently, there are a lot of evolutionary designs planned for the future that may actually be the product of the next generation of aerospace engineers. It is perfect timing for the new AE's to make the impact on the next 100 years of flight!

Vernecia Sharae' McKay

BS Tuskegee University, 1998

EMAIL ADDRESS : vsmckay@hotmail.com

Having graduated from Georgia Tech with a Master's in the field of CFD, I am attending the Pennsylvania State University with the intent to receive a PhD in the field of Computational Thermoacoustics under the advisement of Dr. Philip Morris.

My advice to the prospective Aerospace Students is:

Normally, a person spends the majority of his/her life working. So you might as well do something that you love. If your passion is aerospace, don't be swayed by the small-minded opinions of those who want your life to be as boring as theirs.

Willie E. Horne

2Lt, USAF

57 CRS/LGMC

E-MAIL: willie.horne@nellis.af.mil

COMPANY

United States Air Force

DUTY TITLE

Accessory Maintenance Flight Commander

JOB DESCRIPTION

Supervises and manages 75 assigned personnel in four specialist elements (fuels, egress, electrical/environmental, pneumatic, and hydraulic systems) on over a combined one hundred A-10, F-15C/D, F-15E, F-16 aircraft and HH-60 helicopters.