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The University of Alabama

Find Your Passion: Another Problem Solved

By Whitney Taylor

Scott demonstrates flow visualization in the low-speed wind tunnel. (Photo by Zach Riggins)

Scott demonstrates flow visualization in the low-speed wind tunnel. (Photo by Zach Riggins)

When Kyle Scott began his college search, he treated it like any engineer might – as a problem-solving challenge. Only this time he was not testing the sub systems of rocket motors, but was on a quest to find an engineering program that perfectly matched his expectations.

Seeing, during his first visit to campus, the zest University of Alabama engineering faculty members had for their work made a big impact on his college choice, Scott says.

He says he wanted to participate in engineering and design for as long as he can remember. Before deciding to come to UA and build space vehicles as a career, he originally wanted to be a LEGO® project designer.

“My choice of toy has changed, but toy-maker is still the coolest job I can imagine … engineers get to make toys, which to me is the most desirable job of all,” Scott says.

While his focus has changed from LEGOS to rocket motors, Scott says engineers get to “make toys,” and that, he states, is the “coolest job I can imagine.”

While his focus has changed from LEGOS to rocket motors, Scott says engineers get to “make toys,” and that, he states, is the “coolest job I can imagine.”

Since Scott has been at UA, his passion for problem solving has grown.  As a research assistant to Dr. Paul Hubner, assistant professor of aerospace engineering, Scott studies aerial vehicles used by the U.S. Department of Defense for surveillance purposes.

Scott’s favorite extracurricular activity is the Amateur Rocketry Club where he designs and develops low-cost rocket motors, and he is also an Ambassador for the College of Engineering.  Scott said he chose to be an Ambassador to help influence the engineering industry’s perception of UA.

“I want every engineer who graduates from UA to make major contributions to the industry so that companies realize what type of quality product is produced in Tuscaloosa,” Scott said.

In addition to his engineering studies, Scott is striving for fluency in Chinese and has participated in internship and co-op programs, as well. Last summer, Scott interned with Orion Propulsion where he tested and evaluated the sub systems of rocket motors, and he currently participates in a cooperative education program with Miltec Corp. in Huntsville, where he works for an advanced research engineering group.

Although his academic endeavors are time consuming, Scott says UA has given him opportunity to embrace social and athletic passions, as well.

“I love that, without compromising the applied educational path I chose, I can also travel with UA’s ultimate Frisbee club team, captain a team for the College Bowl trivia competition, participate in an American Society of Mechanical Engineers design competition, play intramural volleyball, and interact with prospective students and alumni as part of the Ambassadors for the College of Engineering,” says Scott.

Scott’s extracurricular activities include traveling with UA’s ultimate Frisbee club team. (Photo by Zach Riggins)

Scott’s extracurricular activities include traveling with UA’s ultimate Frisbee club team. (Photo by Zach Riggins)

So, what continues to drive this National Merit Finalist from Crystal Lake, Ill., besides his passion for problem solving?  “It doesn’t take long to realize that our professors are passionate about their research and instruction,” Scott says. “For me, the first conversation I had with a professor clinched my decision to attend UA by inspiring me to seek the same enthusiasm in my career path that our faculty experiences and cultivates in their students daily.”

Scott says he expects problem solving will continue as a driving force throughout his life. And while building the colorful LEGO® fortresses of his childhood is a thing of the past, many new challenges lie ahead. He says he counts finding his place at The University of Alabama as another problem solved.

 

 

Whitney Taylor is in UA’s College of Communication and Information Sciences pursuing a bachelor’s degree within the advertising and public relations program.

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This story is part of the Find Your Passion series. To learn more about how you can find your passion at The University of Alabama, please visit UA Undergraduate Admissions.

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