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Engineering Student Conducts Prestigious Space Research

engineering female studentWhen Harley Glad started at Southern Utah University, she had no idea what she wanted to do or be. Her only goal was to get her associate’s degree and hopefully find her passion along the way. Through a series of events and taking the career coaching class through the Career Center, she narrowed down her academic interests to engineering.

“Once I started taking engineering classes and got to know the professors, I became more sold on the idea of engineering,” said Glad. “The more I get into it, the more it fits my personality. Plus, I have some of the greatest professors on the face of the planet who have helped me develop my passion. My time with the engineering department has been priceless.”

Entering her senior year as an engineering major, Glad motivates those around her and demands perfection in her own work.

On top of managing her engineering course load, Glad works as a student assistant manager for Southern Utah University’s Women’s Basketball team and acts as treasurer for the newly-founded Engineers Without Borders club on campus.

“I have learned that success is determined in large part by hard work, and the one thing I am known for is my work ethic,” said Glad. “This means I am always concerned with my progress as a student, not just the letter grade.”

This summer, Glad conducted research for the University of Alabama on space and propulsion, specifically to improve Hall-effect thrusters used in spacecraft engines. This experience gave Glad the various roles of mechanic, electrician, engineer and researcher.

“Space has always sparked a sense of wonder,” said Glad. “People are curious about the unknown possibilities that lie beyond the limits of sight, so my research is helping to improve the engines that carry vehicles through space. I am learning continually and using skills from all sorts of backgrounds to achieve the desired outcome of this research.”

Glad attributes her academic success to two things: her determination to succeed and her incredible professors at SUU.

“I didn’t really understand the magnitude of the lessons my professors were teaching until I came to research in Alabama,” said Glad. “I am surrounded by students from all over the country, and I can say that I was one of the most prepared for graduate school and full-time employment. I was one of the top students because of everything I’ve learned at SUU.”

Dr. Scott Munro, associate chair and professor of engineering, and Dr. Ali Siahpush, associate professor of engineering, have both helped Glad grow as a student and engineer.

“Dr. Munro and Dr. Siahpush bring a unique perspective of how to be a successful engineer because they have spent years in the field,” said Glad. “They try to teach us these skills and prepare us in the best possible way.”

Munro has taught Glad in multiple engineering courses and has always been impressed with her tenacity and work ethic.

“Given the fact that Harley is significantly involved in supporting SUU basketball, her academic accomplishments are even more impressive,” he said. “She is bright, hard-working, and has a passion for engineering that will serve her well in the future.”

As her direct research advisor at SUU, Siahpush knows Glad has a bright future ahead.

"There is no question that Harley will be an extraordinary scientific researcher," said Siahpush. "She is very self-motivated, gets along with the people around her, performs well under pressure and always follows through with the task at hand. I have the utmost respect for her in how she conducts her professional life."

Glad is graduating next spring with a bachelor’s of engineering with an emphasis in mechanical engineering. She plans on pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.


    

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