F-15 Flight SIM Labs – Manager
The Boeing Company
St. Louis, MO
Hazelwood Central High School
Tuskegee University, BS, Aerospace Engineering,
Webster University, MBA
In short, what do you do?
I work with a group of software engineers to model advancements on the F-15 aircraft with flight simulation. Our work allows F-15 pilots and engineers to do this in a simulated environment which provides great cost efficiency and opportunity to repeat complex test quickly without having to put an aircraft or aircrafts into the air.
The love of flight has a tendency to take hold early in life. How did it come about for you?
For me it was through my father. He has worked pretty much his entire career at Lambert St. Louis Airport. At a very young age, I can remember going to work with him to visit his work facilities and being around commercial aircraft. We also spent a number of evenings watching aircraft takeoff and land from an observation area. That sparked my interest into how those massive rolling blocks of metal could fly like a bird. From then on I wanted to know how it was possible for that to happen. To this day I’m still in awe and when I fly I always want the window seat.
It’s not always cool to be the smart kid. How do we inspire more young people to pursue their interest in STEM learning?
I inspire them to see that STEM is all around us more than ever. You can’t do anything today without using some form of technology. The message has to break down what can seem to be complex subjects into pieces so that students find quick understanding when learning about a STEM topic. There hasn’t been a time like today where you can be a creator without any formal education. The tools to create and develop technology are so readily available. More so there are endless amounts of resources of people wanting to teach young people about it right now.
What inspired you to build a mobile flight simulator for students to experience?
After doing a number of school STEM events where I would talk to the students about why flight was so interesting to me I could feel the students wanted more. I wanted to show them what my interest in aerospace felt like and a small glimpse of the possibilities we have with all of the resources available to us. Building the flight simulator and taking flight to schools gives students a chance to pilot an aircraft. Many of the students go into it thinking they won’t be able to get the aircraft off the ground but when they do it creates a quick win. Something clicks that says if I can fly an airplane in a simulation, I can do even more in STEM stuff too.
When did your interest in engineering take root? Did you have any mentors or participate in any programs that fostered your interest?
I’ve always enjoyed building things. I can remember building Lego airplanes and cities. It is just something about being able to create that fuels me. My biggest mentors and providers of my inspiration have been my parents. They always spoke the message to my brother and me that we could accomplish anything we wanted if we worked at it. The work ethic is what fostered my interest to know I could become an aerospace engineer.