Coolest Classes at USC

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Hey Everyone! Hope you’ve been having a great week!

As for news on my end…..had a splendid birthday celebration in Las Vegas this weekend with my fraternity- great to be with friends in such an energetic city to celebrate great times!

To all you high school seniors out there- hope your college decision making process is going great! If you have any questions for us Viterbi Student Ambassadors, I just want to remind you that you can e-mail us (individually or collectively) to ask us any questions you might have! I remember how helpful that was when it came down to making my final choice for school. We’re here for you (and at this time of the semester, with final projects and final exams etc, chances are we’re standing by 24/7…… hmmmm)

On a different note, I wanted to share with ya’ll some of my most enjoyable classes I’ve had here at USC. I honestly couldn’t pick one as I think I was supposed to. Nevertheless, don’t read anything in to the ordering of these classes. They’ve all been very formative in my development as an engineer.  To keep it short, I’ve categorized.
Aerospace Classes  (AME 491, AME 261)

AME 491- AeroDesign Team (1 unit per semester, 3 units max)

You all have probably heard me talking in previous blogs about the USC AeroDesign Team and some of the cool stuff we work on through out the year. Well, to top off the cool experience you get (looks great for employers), you can also get course credit, up to the equivalent of a regular course if you do it for three semesters as an aerospace major! To refresh your memory, here’s a picture of our plane and team from last year.

 

 AME 261- Basic Flight Mechanics

To me, this class was more like a story time than it was a heavy-duty lecture as are some of my other technical classes.  I don’t mean that to say I didn’t learn anything…..on the contrary! This class was so aligned with my interest that I learned so much out of it, and really got to see the practical applications of what I was learning- witness our class trip to visit the Quantas maintenance facility at LAX where the B-747 and A-380 aircraft are serviced.

 

 

In AME 261, you learn about some of the basic forces of flight (Lift, Weight, Thrust, and Drag), expand on those to talk about climbing and descending flight, turning flight, take-off and landing performance, and even stability and control.  Another cool part of the class is the group project- for my year it was designing an airplane that would fly around the equator without refueling, all powered by liquid hydrogen!! You not only get to think like an engineer,  but also get some great hands on experience of working in technical groups. Communication is key, and that is an important message I took away from my experience in AME-261 with Dr. Blackwelder, a life time mentor of mine.

AME-105- Introduction to Aerospace Engineering

If you will allow me, I am going to take a step back in time and talk briefly about the Precambrian Era- I mean my Freshman year- sorry about that! This class was taught by Dr. Redekopp, another esteemed mentor of mine, four years later with whom I keep in regular contact. This class is really designed to give you an overview of what it’s like to be an aerospace engineer. I like to think of it as ‘getting the measure’ of aerospace engineering.  What you learn in this class is amplified upon in greater detail in AME-261 (see above). The highlight of this class was getting to design AND BUILD our own glider 8 weeks in to my undergraduate career. That’s right…..a few lectures of theory and math, and then my group and I were in the lab, physically building our kit glider, which we proceeded to fly and collect data from- to be presented in a professional report, indicative of something you might find in industry. Here’s a great snapshot of my group out there on the field the day we test flew our glider, which flew like 300 feet horizontally after being launched from only 6 ft above the ground.

 

Other Experiences/Cool Classes to Consider

There are several other classes I’ve had the opportunity to be in which though not directly related to engineering are worthy of mention:

 

AME 490-Engineers as Teachers

This class is actually hosted by a company called Iridescent.  The whole point of the class is to inspire in young elementary school children an sense of interest and wonder in engineering by building your very own 5 week course module which you teach to elementary school children at metropolitan schools throughout the LA area.  During the first module of the class, you learn about how to structure your lessons, with plenty of practice in class. The second part is actually going out and presenting your lessons at what are called Family Science Nights. I took this class last semester, and really loved it for the simple reason that I saw with my  very own eyes the impact I was having one some of my students….the simple things they would tell me about how their outlook on building things and experimenting with designs had changed. In engineering, at the end of the day, it’s all about fun!

NAUT-001- Sailing

Ever wanted to learn the basics of how to sail? Want to have a mid-term exam which consists of sailing a  boat to an island (e.g. Catalina island, 30 miles off  coast from Long Beach)? Well, enough said, take this class!  I had a blast, and want to share with you a few pictures from my mid-term (e.g. sailing to Catalina).

 

 

Left (CCW): Shenanigains….jaw breakers on deck. Navigating.

The inside/outside of the Catalina casino. Me on deck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it for this week. Next week, let’s talk about summer. Go ahead and put my blog down in your calendar for next week. Till then, as we say in French, abientot (until next time).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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