Momentum Member Spotlight – June 2014
AIAA Congratulates Cheryl Blomberg
By Duane Hyland, AIAA Communications
The Member Spotlight turned west this month, shining through the Rocky Mountains and falling on Boulder, Colorado, to single out Cheryl Blomberg, AIAA student member and Student Liaison to the AIAA Board of Directors.
Blomberg is a graduate research assistant at the University of Colorado – Boulder, and recently served as the Lead Testing and Safety Engineer on the University’s “GoJett” program – a supersonic unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is being designed and built by CU graduate students. Prior to that, Blomberg was a Fellow at the Center for Space Nuclear Research. Besides serving as the current student liaison to the board, Blomberg has also been part of AIAA’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) K-12 Outreach Committee. Blomberg is leaving Colorado, to take a position at MIT Lincoln Laboratories in Boston, Massachusetts.
Talking about what influenced her to purse aerospace, she noted: “What inspired me to get into aerospace is the obvious challenge associated with it. Space is the "final frontier" as Star Trek so perfectly put it, and to be a part of taming that is a dream come true, “ said Blomberg. “As a child, I had glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling, in proper constellations of course, and planes and spaceships hanging from the ceiling. Space, planes, and flight have always intrigued me. In particular, I remember being inspired watching Apollo 13 and thinking that the astronauts were incredible, but I was most intrigued by the engineers down at ground control who worked with random parts to save the astronauts. What they did fascinated me and drove me towards going into the aerospace field.”
“One of my stand-out aerospace memories so far has been working closely with former astronaut Joe Tanner at the University of Colorado Boulder. He has been both one of my most influential teachers, as well as a great friend who has helped guide me to my current path in the aerospace industry. Also, who else, other than an astronaut, can you play ‘guess that city’ with using photographs he took aboard the ISS?”
When asked what advice she would have for students, Blomberg replied: “My advice for any student seeking to enter aerospace is to do what you love. If you don't love it, it will always be a struggle. You do not need to be an aerospace engineer to work in the aerospace industry; just let your passion guide you.” For those still in school and finishing up, Blomberg had this advice “Persistence is key when finishing your degree and entering the world. Whether you plan to go into academia, industry, or research labs, persistence and being a self-starter are desirable traits to have.” But, she also reminded aerospace professionals already in the job that “. One place where experienced aerospace professionals can truly help students and young professionals is in sharing their knowledge and experience. Although technology progresses quickly, the experience that professionals have from working is invaluable.”
For high school kids, who have started to think about aerospace as a career field, Blomberg counseled: “Get involved! In engineering, you must work a lot in teams and think outside the box to solve difficult problems. Getting involved in clubs, such as robotics or Rube Goldberg, or sports can help grow these skills and prepare you for entering an aerospace degree program.”
Blomberg closed our interview by talking about the importance of AIAA, saying “AIAA is an invaluable professional organization for the aerospace industry. Not only does it have the obvious, like conferences and journals, but it also provides an opportunity for interaction between people from all over the aerospace industry. There is no other organization that can provide better networking and information in the aerospace industry than AIAA.”
AIAA congratulates Cheryl Blomberg on her selection as the AIAA Member Spotlight for June 2014, thanks her for her ongoing service to the Board of Directors on behalf of all of AIAA’s Student Members, and wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavors!