Aerospace engineering student Veronica Foreman has been selected to receive the College of Engineering’s 2014 Outstanding Aerospace Undergraduate Researcher award.
The honor recognizes Foreman’s contributions to a research project,“Software in Military Aviation and Drone Mishaps: Analysis and Recommendations for the Investigation Process” which was presented at the Reliability and Maintainability Symposium this past January and is currently being reviewed for journal publication.
Foreman is listed as the lead author, but she is quick to point out that it was her mentor, Dr. Joseph H. Saleh, and her fellow researcher, graduate student Francesca Favaró, who made the difference for her.
“They were by far the most helpful, enthusiastic, and insightful people I could have worked with,” she said. “I worked with a phenomenal team.”
The 21-year-old Maryland native will officially receive the Outstanding AE Undergraduate Researcher Award on April 23, as a part of the ceremonies sponsored by the Student Advisory Board for Undergraduate Research (SABUR).
Foreman began delving into the connection between software performance and military aircraft accidents last year, as a summer research job. She had previously done some research for the ASDL and for an economics professor, but Foreman quickly discovered that her new research mentor, Dr. Saleh would expect much more from her. She was up for the challenge.
“Every time we met to discuss the research, he’d begin with ‘So what are you going to talk about today?’” she said. “He wasn’t handing me the answers.”
For the first two weeks, her research consisted of reading through hundreds of airplane accident reports, looking for similarities, connections, and possible inroads to her research. For some, this might have been a tedious chore, but Foreman said she appreciated the level of detail that it brought to her research.
“Even when something ended up not being relevant, I’d learn something: why it wasn’t relevant. And in discussing it with Professor Saleh, I’d learn how to ask better questions, to figure out what was not related,” she said.
“And when I got frustrated, he’d always tell me that even when you are not making visible progress in your research, you are making progress if you keep asking the right questions. I remember that whenever I hit a wall.”
This is precisely the perspective that made Foreman stand out from other candidates for the Undergraduate Researcher Award. It is also a mindset that she hopes will help her achieve a lifelong dream.
“I very much want to be an astronaut when I grow up, and I’ve been working hard to align my studies to make that happen,” she said. “I want to pursue a Ph.D. – looking at the reliability of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] and I think this research will help me get closer to that goal.”
A member of the Alpha Omega Epsilon sorority, Foreman plans to graduate from Georgia Tech’s School of Aerospace Engineering in December, 2014.
|Veronica Foreman was thrilled to meet former astronaut (and current director of the AIAA) Dr. Sandy Magnus, during the 2014 Senior Banquet|