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"I find technology, such as aircraft, to be very beautiful in the way that it depends on natural phenomena to perform."
Born and raised in rural Virginia, Sara Hupp is grateful for all the opportunities she has had so far in life, and for parents who instilled in her a love for sports and the arts as well as academics. She is pursuing a master's degree in mechanical engineering and hopes to continue in school until she earns her doctorate.
Sara anticipates that research for her master's degree will involve both theoretical and experimental studies of fluid mechanics. Through this research, she hopes to gain a better understanding of "the physics of fluid flow and how the governing laws were developed." After completing an advanced degree, she expects to be able to "derive my own equations and design for new applications in developing fields."
Two emerging fields that Sara finds interesting are "boundary layer separation techniques and microfluidic devices." She particularly enjoys applying her knowledge to the aerospace field, especially in aircraft design.
Looking ahead, Sara sees herself spending some time in industry or a government-sponsored research laboratory, where she would hope to contribute to new technology as a design engineer. She also enjoys leadership positions and would like to move on to a management or project-coordination role. After that, she will determine whether her career path continues in industry or leads her back to the university and a teaching and research role.
Apart from her studies, Sara has drawn great satisfaction from extracurricular activities, especially playing on the Virginia Tech field hockey team and playing the oboe in a community band in Staunton, Virginia during her co-op terms.
She hopes to find other bands to play with in the future. "It is hard to stop playing music once you start," she says, "because it becomes a method of expressing your feelings and relieving stress." As a team leader for a group of freshmen women engineering students, Sara has planned meetings and dinners and monitored the women throughout their first semester in college.
Sara has also enjoyed traveling, both in the United States and abroad. During a semester-long internship in Lille, France, she worked at Laboratoire d-Optique Atmosphérique, developing a computer model of a radiometer.
Sara says that her ultimate goal is "to always continue to learn and to eventually help others learn and help them see the exciting possibilities in engineering."
University of Maryland
Undergraduate Transfer Scholar
University of Georgia
Yale University, Harvard University