Meet Emily Boster: A native of Brownsville, Texas, Emily Boster is a Texas A&M senior majoring in aerospace engineering. She plans to work in the aerospace industry as an engineer and eventually as a project manager and intends to pursue a master’s degree along the way. For three years she has worked at the Astronomical instrumentation Laboratory in Texas A&M’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. She developed her own research project on flying vehicles. One of her most enriching experiences and influences in her life was a recent trip to India for a summer exchange program as part of her research.
As someone who probably had a lot of choices, why did you choose Texas A&M over other schools?
It is somewhat ironic that I ended up at Texas A&M. I am the first Aggie in my family and I really didn’t know anything about the traditions or what makes Texas A&M unique. I knew I wanted to stay in Texas so I started touring universities during my junior year of high school. I came up for the first time in the fall of my senior year. I took a campus tour, met with an advisor and went to my first Aggie football game. Needless to say, I didn’t even bother applying anywhere else. I knew this was the place for me.
What would you consider the “value-added experiences” you’ve had?
Some of the additional experiences I’ve had at Texas A&M include involvement in the SAE Aero Design team, AIAA, Breakaway, Navigators, Salsa Fusion, Sigma Gamma Tau, Tau Beta Pi, and Phi Eta Sigma. There are so many organizations and clubs on campus that it has been hard to choose which ones to be involved in. I also enjoy going to Aggie football games and other sporting events.
What are your plans for the future and how has Texas A&M helped to contribute toward those goals?
My future plans entail working in the aerospace industry as an engineer and eventually as a project manager. To accomplish these goals, I will need to pursue a master’s degree, but I feel that gaining some experience in the workplace would be valuable prior to deciding what I want to focus on. I haven’t decided whether I should go to the industry or straight into graduate school once I finish my bachelor’s degree. I’m looking into my options and trying to keep all the doors open at this point.
Who are the faculty and staff members who have really made a difference in your educational experiences here?
Many faculty and staff at Texas A&M have played a major role in my educational experience here. During the first semester of my freshman year, I sought a research position in physics. Dr. Darren DePoy and Dr. Jennifer Marshall kindly took me under their wings and offered me a place in the Texas A&M Astronomical Instrumentation Lab (even though I had essentially no knowledge of physics, astronomy and engineering). They are amazing people, and working in the lab for the past three years has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Dr. Raktim Bhattacharya and Dr. Vikram Kinra of the aerospace engineering department have also played a major role in my education. I began research last winter in dynamics and controls under Dr. Bhattacharya in preparation for the summer exchange program to IIT Kanpur which is arranged by Dr. Kinra. The trip to India was one of the best experiences of my life. I am currently working on a project with Dr. Bhattacharya. He is a visionary and an incredibly intelligent man. He nominated me for the Astronaut Scholarship and has always believed in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.
What would you want to say to students coming behind you Just starting the university experience?
I wish that I had thought more about what I wanted to study before coming to Texas A&M. It’s really difficult at the age of 18 to have any realistic idea of what you want to do for the rest of your life, but obtaining more exposure to different careers in high school would have really benefited me. I was pre-med before I switched to aerospace, so I took many classes that don’t count towards my current degree plan. I spent lots of time and money before I figured out what I wanted to do. I would encourage high school students to get involved in extracurricular activities, work or volunteer in an organization related to what they are interested in majoring in at university. One of my future goals is to help young students become interested in engineering and science by creating programs throughout Texas, particularly in South Texas, that expose them to careers that they never might have imagined.
What do you see as the value of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation award? How do you plan to use it?
The main value I see in receiving the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation award is in becoming part of a group of scholars that have displayed their motivation and ability to become world changers. If I want to make a difference, I need to associate myself with individuals that have the same goal. Receiving this award has really made me think about what my goals are and how I can use my skills and abilities to help people. The opportunity to meet Capt. James Lovell was truly incredible. I cannot believe that I get to spend time around someone who I admire so much, someone that accomplished amazing feats during the Apollo era, before I was even born. I’m very thankful for the funds from the award. I plan to use it to help me finish up my time here at Texas A&M. I am staying here for four and a half years because I changed my major, so the scholarship is really going to help during that last semester.