Guiding the Next Generation of Students

In addition to her role as an Integration Lead at Collins Aerospace, alumna Nishi Kelkar recently started her own company to provide critical learning resources for students.

B.S. in Aerospace Engineering (BSAE) major, Nishi Kelkar (’17,’21) found a great appreciation for ERAU’s flight line and active flight program.
Nishi Kelkar's company, Project LaunchPad, provides content to students on topics that directly impact their well-being.(Photo: Nishi Kelkar)

Beginning her Embry-Riddle journey as a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering (BSAE) major, Nishi Kelkar (’17,’21) found a great appreciation for ERAU’s flight line and active flight program. This provided her the opportunity to experience firsthand what it’s like to fly a plane and observe the engineering that went into building the aircraft.

She chose the BSAE because of her interest in STEM, which she sees as a tool to solve real-world problems.

“When I look at aviation, I see it as a way to help connect people,” said Kelkar. “To be able to integrate the different subsystems and then eventually create a final product that serves to transport resources and people is a fantastic opportunity.”

While completing her undergraduate degree, she was able to participate in two aerospace engineering internships at industry leading companies. Her first position was with a wind turbine manufacturing company, which allowed her to apply the principles she learned in her Aerodynamics course.

During her junior year, she interned with Collins Aerospace, where she now works full time as an Integration Lead. In this role, Kelkar is also the engine indication system focal for the Boeing 777X – which will enter service in 2023 as the largest and most efficient commercial aircraft in the world.

“No two days are the same at my current job, and I think that’s the exciting part, because you’re constantly dealing with challenges that are both technical and programmatic,” she said.

Kelkar also completed her M.S. in Management during her time working for the aerospace and defense company.

“I chose management science, because when I started working at Collins Aerospace, from day one I had taken up leadership roles that I thoroughly enjoyed,” she said.

When she’s not on duty at her full-time job, she’s busy growing her new company – Project LaunchPad. 

Through the company’s growing Instagram profile, Project LaunchPad provides insight to students on financial stability, mental health awareness, career counseling and much more.

“In the next phase, we are planning to get courses up and running on subjects like financial mentoring and emotional intelligence,” she said.

In the future, Kelkar hopes to continue along the leadership and management path that she’s currently on, and grow Project Launchpad to new heights to reach as many people as possible.

To learn more about Kelkar’s story and tips for success, check out her TEDx Talk.