Success Stories

Aerospace Engineering Student Soars Academically and Professionally Through Campus Involvement

May 15, 2023
Alba Marcelin ’23
Alba Marcelin ’23

Alba Marcelin ’23, an aerospace engineering major, became interested in airports and planes early. As she got older, she realized she could make a career out of this interest. Since the age of four, her mom would take her and her brother to Spain over summer vacations to visit family. Through these visits, Alba became fascinated with one airport in particular, Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport.

“I simply fell in love with the aesthetics of the airport,” she says. “The waved roof structure made out of bamboo sustained by rainbow-colored ‘Y’ shaped beams, which extended from one end of the airport to the other, were enough to fascinate my mind for months on end.” 

It was through this curiosity that Alba began to research and expand her knowledge of the aviation industry, as well as growing a hobby for plane spotting. “My ultimate dream is to become a commercial airline pilot,” she says. “A degree in aerospace engineering is a great way to bridge and open doors to many possibilities in the aerospace industry. Being able to work with airplanes and improve their systems for the environment is my main career goal.”

After transferring into the new major at UHart (aerospace launched in fall 2021), Alba worked as a manufacturing engineering intern at Burke Aerospace (formally known as Turbine Technologies). She also interned at CCAT, and GE Aviation as an aviation system Intern in Dayton, OH last during the summer of 2022.

While I was on tour, I was able to walk around and actually see students like me. Being a person of color and mixed background, as well as having attended a high school that was made up of minority students, I wanted to attend a school where people like me could be seen daily and not simply be counted on a few fingers.”

Alba Marcelin ’23, Aerospace Engineering, CETA

Alba chose to attend UHart because it was the first college campus that made her feel comfortable. She first enrolled at UHart as a mechanical engineering major, however, the aerospace engineering major allows her to focus more on the specific science and technologies that create, develop, and improve aircraft and spacecraft. She shared that the aerospace and turbomachinery labs help many students expand their knowledge and get more hands-on experience in preparation for the future.

Outside of the classroom, Alba was involved in multiple campus organizations. She served on the executive board as treasurer for UHart’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). "NSBE has really established an authentic family atmosphere where everyone supports one another,” she said.

She also served as a student ambassador in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA) Leadership Society, where she spoke with prospective students about what it is like to attend the University. As a student ambassador, she helped advocate for students who wish for change and inclusivity. Alba was also involved in Brothers and Sisters United, the Caribbean American Student Association, and the Society of Women Engineers.

Alba credits a few individuals at UHart for helping her get to where she is today. Center for Student Success Executive Director Julie Spring served as Alba’s first-year advisor. “Julie is always there for me and has my best interest at heart,” she says. 

Additionally, one of her faculty members, Alireza Jamalipour M’04, has made a true impact on her by “taking the time to teach not only the course content effectively but focus on important life skills in the process.” 

After graduation, Alba will begin GE Aviation’s Engineering Edison Development Program (EEDP) in July 2023 in Jacksonville, FL. Through this rotational leadership program, she will explore various specializations in aviation engineering.