John Aguillard: Balloons, Rockets and NASA

How does a student earn a NASA internship? For Electrical Engineering senior, John Aguillard, the answer is to develop a new student organization, perform in-depth research into unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and maintain good grades.

In addition to founding the Aerospace Engineering Club, a club that provides College of Engineering and Science students with experience in aerospace engineering through rocketry, high-altitude balloons and UAVs, John is a member of the Louisiana Tech chapters of the engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi, and the amateur radio club, W5HGT, and has an amateur radio license from the Federal Communications Commission.

John completed two internships with NASA and currently has an internship at Radiance Technologies located in Tech Pointe. On top of his internships, John is researching UAVs with Dr. Arden Moore’s Multiscale Energy Transport and Materials Lab, research that is sponsored by NASA through the Louisiana Space Consortium.

John’s team developed an autonomous solar-powered UAV that is capable of flying overnight. The team hoped the UAV would break the world record for autonomous flight, which is currently 81 hours. However, the team fell short.

“As a student, working at a company as high-powered and well-respected as Radiance has been a golden opportunity. The Ruston office is full of knowledgeable and experienced engineers who are eager to act as mentors. Additionally, at Radiance interns work on the same defense and research projects as the full-time staff. This has given me invaluable experience in an industry I hope to one day be a leader in.”

“One of the greatest things about my education at Tech was getting early hands-on experience. The ability to understand and assist in the manufacturing process has significantly increased my capabilities as an engineer. Having previous knowledge of laboratory and prototyping equipment also gave me an edge at NASA, as it allowed me to jump into work faster than peers whose colleges focused solely on theory. “