Before he graduated with his mechanical engineering degree in May, Jesse Chen began applying for graduate programs in pursuit of his PhD, and the full funding of the UA Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and the bike friendliness of Tucson ultimately won him over
When Chen transferred to the UA in spring 2017, he’d already decided he was most interested in the fluid dynamics aspect of mechanical engineering, and under his PhD adviser Israel Wygnanski, he’s focusing his studies on active flow control.
“Basically, we have a slot … somewhere on the plane, and air is blown out of it and it changes the way air flows around the area of the aircraft. In a good way: It makes the plane more efficient.”
He advises students to work hard during their undergrad years, especially outside the classroom. That means getting involved with research projects and design-build-compete clubs. Starting early, he says, can increase your chances of landing a coveted internship after junior year.