Prithvi Dhanabal

Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Student Classification: Junior
Major: Aerodynamics

Why did you choose Aeronautics and Astronautics?
I chose the AAE program because I came to Purdue interested in working in either the commercial aviation or automotive industries in a modeling, simulation, and analysis role. I knew that Purdue's AAE program would equip me with the skills necessary to succeed in this career, or any other I'd find interesting throughout my time here.

Best event or organization you’ve participated in within AAE?
This organization would be the PSP Satellites team. The team is dedicated to developing career-ready engineers through the medium of a CubeSat project, and this dedication to lift each other up is evident in every meeting, event, and professional workshop the team hosts or is involved in.

Best event or organization you’ve participated in outside of AAE?
Outside of AAE, the favorite organization I'm a part of is Honors Mentors. I lead first-year Honors students through their HONR19901 course, and develop them to be better collaborators and leaders. I also serve as a peer resource to help with their transition into Purdue.

Why did you want to be an AAE Ambassador?
I want to be an AAE Ambassador to reflect the pride I feel to be a part of the Purdue AAE program. The great reputation of this program is something I heard often at my internship, and moments like those made me proud to be associated with the school. I would like to convey this pride to the next class of AAE students, and let them know how fun being in the AAE program is as well.

Favorite place on campus?
Purdue Grand Prix Track

Favorite class you’ve taken thus far and why?
ENGR161/162: It was a immediate introduction to working in a team of engineers, which is a skillset I think is best developed early for any engineer. Also, the friends I made in that class are people I continue to see today, and especially those in the AAE program have been a great resource to further my understanding of course material.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a potential AAE student?
Trust yourself, you are capable of much more than you think. We all have those "imposter syndrome" moments where we doubt whether we're cut out for the workload given. Calm down, remember all the great accomplishments you've had so far, and that boost of self-confidence will carry you forwards.

Who is someone you look up to in the Aero/Astro industry and why?
Joe Sutter. I flew internationally a lot at a young age, and the 747 quickly became my favorite aircraft. When learning more about the 747, I found that Joe Sutter was in charge of its development. In him, I saw an engineer with supreme technical skills, great team-management ability, but most importantly an ethical code he never wavered from. That is a blend of characteristics I think all engineers should aspire to maintain.

What motivates you to succeed?
One motivator is wanting to innovate in the commercial aviation and/or automotive fields. The bigger motivation is recognition of the time and effort my family and friends have dedicated to supporting my journey thus far; it would be a shame if I quit and wasted all of their help.

What is your ultimate career goal?
One of the "sci-fi" concepts I was really interested in as a kid was flying cars. This field combines two of my life's greatest passions: aviation and automobiles. As prototype flying cars continue to be built, there's a real possibility that they will become viable means of everyday transport in the near future. Making that a reality is my top career goal at the moment.

What do you like to do when you’re not studying/in the lab or classroom?
I love playing any pickup sport! Currently, my favorites are basketball, pickleball, football, and Spikeball.