Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarships

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Nikolai Travis

Pennsylvania State University

At the time of winning the Larry Doyle Scholarship in 2015, Nikolai Travis was a rising senior at the Pennsylvania State University studying to receive a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering. Some of his core courses that most interested him include signal processing, electromagnetics, energy conversion, and nanoelectronics. Nikolai has also recently completed the required curriculum for a minor in Engineering Mechanics, which includes electives such as advanced strength of materials and experimental solid analysis. In addition to the Larry Doyle Scholarship, he also recently received the Chuck Peacock Memorial Scholarship from the Aircraft Electronics Association for excellence in academics and work in the field.

How did you get interested in vertical flight?

"I spent four years apprenticing and eventually working independently at SMART Avionics, Inc., as an avionics technician. This was an invaluable experience because working with avionics developed and cultivated my passion for the aviation industry. This passion eventually led me to train for and receive my private pilot certificate in rotary wing aircraft, which was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life."

What impact has receiving the VFF scholarship had for you?

"The Larry Doyle scholarship was a huge honor to receive and I thank everyone involved in the process of formulating this award and choosing its recipients. Along with being expensive, college is often stressful. Scholarships like the one I received from the AHS help alleviate the financial stress and allow me to focus on expanding my education."

What are some of your current projects or research interests?

"This past summer I spent time in Erie, PA, working as an engineering intern at LORD Corporation. During this internship, I gained valuable experience developing and testing innovative load-sensing technologies for aircraft. This technology was exciting because of its potential to improve the part life in aircraft throughout the industry."

Tell us about your future plans.

"In the future, I plan to pursue a career in the engineering field, and hopefully in the aviation industry. I plan to continue working with avionics because the hands-on experience is both challenging and fun. I would like to eventually hold a position where I can specialize in the research and development of new electrical and electronic technologies for rotary wing and vertical lift aircraft."

2016 Update: After graduating with his B.S. in electrical engineering from Penn State in 2016, Nikolai now works as an aircraft maintenance support engineer at Lockheed Martin.

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