When Rochelle Radawiec '16 was 10-years-old, she visited the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the first time and with that began her lifelong pursuit of space exploration.
“It sounds juvenile, but I have an annual pass to the Kennedy Space Center,” Radawiec said. “I’m attracted to the unknown. Space travel sounds amazing.”
Radawiec is catering all her current experiences as a Mechanical Engineering major at Kettering and a co-op student at Fiat Chrysler Automobile in Auburn Hills to eventually break into the aerospace industry.
“It’s a long-term goal,” Radawiec said. “I have a lot of short term goals that I need to achieve before I get there.”
Radawiec is rotating between aerothermal engineering departments at Chrysler. She spent co-op terms in aero labs, thermal simulation, truck aerothermal and compact U.S. wide aerothermal groups.
“The purpose of aero is to reduce the drag on the vehicle and that’s so you can have better gas mileage,” Radawiec said. “Thermal is a little more complex because you need the engine cooled by the coolant, but the oil needs to be hot enough.”
Radawiec didn’t grow up envisioning herself working in the auto industry but she found the opportunity to work in a wind tunnel exhilarating. She’s also had the opportunity to drive across the country to Colorado to do high altitude testing on trucks and then further west to Las Vegas to perform high ambient city traffic testing.
From her various projects at Chrysler, Radawiec is developing a senior thesis on boundary layer airflow and how testing facilities can simulate road test conditions for the under body of the vehicle.
“I’ve been giving a lot of presentations on my thesis, trying to make sense of data and learning things about fluids and aerodynamics that I haven’t had in classes yet,” Radawiec said.
Radawiec graduated from Dewitt High School in just 3.5 years and is scheduled to graduate from Kettering in March 2016 - only three years after completing her secondary education. Her haste stems from her passion for space exploration and research and unwavering pursuit of her goals.
This spring, Radawiec will be studying abroad in Germany and taking classes in fluids and language. After Kettering, she hopes to pursue both a technical masters and one in business administration. Ultimately, the goal is to utilize her passion for engineering to explore on earth and hopefully beyond.
“I’ve worked on different projects that don’t build off each other, so they provide me with a variety of experiences,” Radawiec said. “I would like to be well rounded and see the world.”