Lainie Rapp

Hometown: Commerce Township, MI
Student Classification: Senior
Major: Structures and Materials

Why did you choose Aeronautics and Astronautics?
I chose Aeronautics and Astronautics because I have always been fascinated with space and how we can get there! The challenging problems encountered in the design and operation of aircraft, missiles, and space vehicles led me to this field of study.

Best event or organization you’ve participated in within AAE?
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 'Professor Talks' lecture series. This is a great opportunity to have lunch with some of

Best event or organization you’ve participated in outside of AAE?
It's a tie between the Space and Earth Analogs Research Chapter (SEARCH) and the Women in Engineering Program (WiE)! Holding leadership positions in both organizations has allowed me to offer various levels of support to Purdue students of all different backgrounds while connecting me to an impressive network of individuals.

Why did you want to be an AAE Ambassador?
I wanted to be an AAE Ambassador to share my love for all things space and engineering technology! Being able to help the next generation of AAE students .

Favorite place on campus?
Wilmeth Active Learning Center. I reserve one of the group study rooms there almost every weekend to get together with my peers and get work done.

Favorite class you’ve taken thus far and why?
Aeromechanics will always have a special place in my heart as the first AAE course I've ever taken. My Lecturer was amazing and it confirmed my desire to pursue a future in the aerospace industry.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a potential AAE student?
Remember that the only person who gets to forge your path is you! Do not let yourself get discouraged from your goals and take special care of your priorities, both for school and outside of school.

Who is someone you look up to in the Aero/Astro industry and why?
I look up to Sirisha Bandla, Purdue University's 26th astronaut and Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations at Virgin Galactic. I got the opportunity to meet her last year through my research chapter and she is an incredible human being with an inspiring story.

What motivates you to succeed?
Knowing that there are limitless opportunities motivates me to succeed. I want to take advantage of them all!

What is your ultimate career goal?
My ultimate career goal is a directorial position within space policy and government affairs. I wish to be an advocate for human space exploration and space diplomacy for generations to come.

What do you like to do when you’re not studying/in the lab or classroom?
In my free time, I am an avid reader and writer of all things science fiction and fantasy. By the time I graduate from Purdue, I hope to have one of my books published!