Lillia Smith ’21

Research Associate in the Aeromechanics Branch at NASA

Major: Mechanical Engineering 

Lillia Smith“The aeromechanics branch at NASA is focused on rotorcraft like helicopters, UAVs/drones, and quadcopters. At my internship, I was put in a team of five to work on a rotorcraft research project. My team decided to design a second-generation drone that would be sent to Titan, Saturn’s moon, and would be able to fly over the surface and swim through Titan’s lakes and seas of liquid methane. My responsibilities include working on a team to come up with one design of our drone, create the drone in a CAD program, create a prototype of the drone, gather data while testing the drone, communicate between my team and my mentor, create a poster to present our research, and write a report about our research.

I applied for this internship because NASA and space have been a part of my life since I can remember. A lot about me has changed through my life, but my passion for space has stayed constant. Once I heard that an internship at NASA was possible, I decided that I wanted to blend my major and my love for space into one career goal. After graduation, I am going to work as an engineer for a few years and then I am going to try to be an astronaut.”