Alum of the Month, September 2022: Spencer Fehlberg
Degree(s) from Purdue: MS in Mechanical Engineering
Year graduated: August 2020
Current position: Propulsion Engineer for Northrup Grumman at the Allegany Ballistics Lab
Describe what you do in this role:
I design, build and test developmental tactical propulsion systems, which predominantly have solid rocket motors. This includes conceptual design for preliminary sizing of propulsion elements, developing/maturing technology to increase capabilities of solid rocket motor technologies, physically building and preparing prototypes for testing and performing post-test data analysis.
What was your favorite part about being a PERC student researcher?
My favorite part about being a PERC student researcher was getting hands-on experience with energetic materials.
How do you use the skills/knowledge that you gained as a student researcher in your current position?
I use the skills and knowledge I gained as a student researcher almost every day. I had a lot of experience as a student researcher presenting technical information, which has been very helpful. I also had actual experience working with energetic materials prior to working here—something that is very unusual for a newer engineer. I felt like I was able to hit the ground running, while a lot of my fellow new hires were still learning the ins and outs of the industry.
Any advice for current/prospective PERC students?
Don't shy away from opportunities to present your research! It helps you learn more about it and gives you valuable experience communicating it to others.