Photo Mahati Potharaju

Mahati Potharaju

Hometown: Hyderabad, India
Student Classification: Junior
Major: Structures and Materials

Why did you choose Aeronautics and Astronautics?
I chose AAE because of the amazing departmental research opportunities for undergraduate students and a stellar alumni network.

Best event or organization you’ve participated in within AAE?
Women in Aerospace!

Best event or organization you’ve participated in outside of AAE?
I loved my time in SWE due to its versatility in activities ranging from paint nights to Girl Scout day and Grand Prix meetings. I met some of my most beloved mentors at SWE who continue to support me in all my endeavors.

Why did you want to be an AAE Ambassador?
I've had mentors in AAE, both professors and students, who have helped me through a very unconventional route into this major. I want to take this support forward to other students.

Favorite place on campus?
The EE lounge in MSEE. I get to meet a lot of ECE majors and have fun debates on which classes are harder. They also help me understand a lot of aero concepts! The MSEE building is also a central spot for club callouts with free food, so I love attending those as fun breaks.

Favorite class you’ve taken thus far and why?
Aeromechanics I as it gave me a solid foundation on static/dynamic problems and equipped me with the skills to handle my dynamics and vibrations class.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a potential AAE student?
To always communicate to your advisors, professors, and even mentors about any issue you are facing and seek help.

Who is someone you look up to in the Aero/Astro industry and why?
When I was 7 years old, Astronaut Mary Ellen Weber visited my elementary school and talked about her experience as a Purdue Alum and a NASA Astronaut. I was enthralled by descriptions of her experiments in space and wanted to be an astronaut since then.

What motivates you to succeed?
I love learning new snippets of knowledge, whether it be from professors in a class setting or my friends at the machine shop and even through just working on a project myself. I want to continue harnessing new engineering skills each day and get closer to my goal of becoming an astronaut.

What is your ultimate career goal?
I would love to support deep space exploration in any way I can - whether it be as a flight director, test engineer, or even astronaut!

What do you like to do when you’re not studying/in the lab or classroom?
I love watching Purdue sports ranging from basketball to diving, soccer, baseball, and football! You can sometimes find me working on homework even at the games. I also love hiking along Celery Bog, Wabash Trail, and Happy Hollow as stress relief leading up to exams.