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Kirk, Philip

Major: 
Aerospace Engineering

What is the RISE area of interest during your first year and why?: 

Service is my area of interest for my first year, because to be charitable (in time, skill, and money) is a higher vocation than my education or career!  I could be phenomenally successful in my future career, but if its purpose is ultimately not to serve others – be it my family, society, the marginalized, or anyone – then my life will be empty.  Making a tangible commitment to serve will increase the role that charity plays in my life.

What is the RISE area of interest during your second year and why?: 

Research is my area of interest for my second year, because research is truly a huge part of the aerospace field! There is lots of development to be done, improving on current technology and creating new ones! This research exposure will help me see in detail one tiny way that the industry can move forward, and also help me to find whether I would be interested in research as a career path.

What are your involvements and or extracurricular activities?: 

I am the maintenance leader for the UMD Catholic Student Center, which involves many construction-related improvement projects for the center itself. I also frequently participate in CSC ministry, outreach, and service activities. I’m also a saxophone player in the University Jazz Band, which performs free concerts at CSPAC three times a year. My sophomore year, I also worked in the Autonomous Vehicle Lab several hours a week, on a project seeking to improve small obstacle detection and avoidance.

What is your cool engineering experience?: 

As simple as this may seem, perhaps my coolest experience as an aerospace engineer was the first time I flew in a small aircraft. Everything that I’d learned in textbooks was so real right before my eyes! For minutes there were power curves, stability graphs, equations, airfoil lift charts, free body diagrams – all of these from my Intro to Flight class were popping into my mind as everything I learned occurred right before my eyes!