Taylor Ridge, Ill.
Daisy Bower came to Carthage because she wanted to work with NASA through Carthage’s Microgravity Team. Now a member of the team, she has spent two summers working with NASA engineers on experiments crucial to long-term NASA goals. She will travel to Houston with the Carthage Microgravity Team again during the summer of 2014.
“I never would have thought in a million years I would get to work in conjunction with NASA,” Daisy said. “This has really given me a lot of confidence in myself, and in what I can accomplish in this field if I decide to go for my long-term goals.”
Daisy has known since the third grade that she wants to be an engineer, but she is pursuing a physics degree so that she truly understands how the world works.
“I know I am in the right field because I enjoy going to class every morning, and I can confidently say I walk away having learned something new every day and wanting to learn more about this ever-changing subject.”
“I never would have thought in a million years I would get to work in conjunction with NASA, let alone my freshman year of college.”
“To be a mechanical engineer for the Department of Defense.”
How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?
“My favorite professor would have to be Prof. Jean Quashnock. I have had two classes taught by Dr. Q, and it never ceases to amaze me how high energy his lectures can be, and they are always paired with interactive labs and group studio problems. He can get important physics lessons and theorems across to his students in a fun way, yet still have them successfully retained.”
“One of my favorite classes here at Carthage has be Intro to Aviation. I took this class J-Term of my freshman year. This was my favorite class because it was a general information class geared toward learning the terminology and basic information needed to obtain a private pilot’s license. I was more fascinated with the aerodynamics of the planes and how the instruments worked. It was like an ‘accident’ physics course I had stumbled upon that I could actually use classroom information toward a real-life application!”
“Currently I am in Differential Equations, and it is the toughest course I have had. It is really challenging me to use my Calculus I and II but in different situations and end goals. I am glad that it is making me analyze calculus theorems and really make me understand the core purpose of them.”
Opportunities at Carthage
“The best thing I could have done for myself as a physics major, wishing to pursue an engineering career, is come to Carthage. Carthage is able to provide its undergraduate students with opportunities that would never be available to most graduate students at other institutions. After my freshman year, I applied to join the Carthage Microgravity Team to get hands-on scientific research experience over the summer. This summer ended up being so much more than I had expected! I learned not only physics and engineering techniques and applications, but math, computer science, and even chemistry. The kicker of getting to work on this project was traveling with the team down to the Johnson Space Center and working with NASA engineers at Ellington Airfield. It was an unforgettable experience to be able to work in a team effort toward a final goal that could ultimately change the way NASA spacecraft are cooled.”
Favorite moments and memories at Carthage
“Only being here at Carthage one year, I have so much more room for memories, but my favorite so far has been the two weeks spent in Houston with the Microgravity Team. The 19-hour road trip in the school van was actually more fun than you think, and all kinds of pranks and games can be played in hotel rooms!”
Favorite spot on campus
“The best spot on campus is B-2 in Straz. It’s the physics lab/hangout where students can go for help, work on projects, or just hang out and meet new people in a comfortable lounge atmosphere.”
Biggest surprise so far
“The biggest shock to me thus far has been my experience at NASA. I never would have thought in a million years I would get to work in conjunction with NASA, let alone my freshman year of college. This has really given me a lot of confidence in myself, and in what I can accomplish in this field if I decide to go for my long-term goals.”
What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?
“I have wanted to be an engineer since third grade, so I’d say 8-year-old Daisy is probably pretty proud. Coming from a small, rural school and already accomplishing what I have, by being involved and active in the classroom and joining outside clubs and groups to really appreciate and learn more about physics, really means a lot to me.”
Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?
“Be confident. Sometimes you’re not going to get every concept or theory, you’re not going to get every problem correct. Reality is you learn through mistakes, practice, and help. Physics can be a little daunting sometimes, but there are always fifty other people behind you to catch you and get you right back on track. But it starts with you wanting to get that problem right or knowing you can learn that concept, and that’s what helps me every day.”