The Right Place to Start—And Finish

For Katharine Larsen (‘21,’22, ‘25), one great experience at Embry-Riddle deserves two more.

After earning a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, Katharine Larsen ('21, '22, '25) embarked on the M.S. in Aerospace Engineering and is planning to continue her studies by pursuing a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering with Embry-Riddle. (Photo: Katharine Larsen)
After earning a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, Katharine Larsen ('21, '22, '25) embarked on the M.S. in Aerospace Engineering and is planning to continue her studies by pursuing a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering with Embry-Riddle. (Photo: Katharine Larsen)

After earning her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, Larsen embarked on the Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering program, where she is already seeing the impact her research is having on the graduate school experience.

“Embry-Riddle offers incredible resources for research and higher education,” she said.

Larsen’s research, which involves using “machine learning techniques to predict warhead fragmentation in-flight behavior from static data, a much cheaper and safer alternative to real tests,” earned her a Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship, which is funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) and awarded to undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students pursuing STEM degrees.

Recipients receive full tuition, annual stipends and are guaranteed a position with the DoD upon graduating. Larsen says her research interests align with the DoD and plans to work with the agency after graduation.

Embry-Riddle’s engineering department has supported Larsen by helping her find additional opportunities to fund her research.

“If you find an advisor that is interested in your research idea, they might be able to help you secure funding for projects,” she said.

Larsen took advantage of resources offered by the Office of Prestigious Awards and Fellowships, such as writing clinics and one-on-one advising. The office also helps students apply for grants and fellowships.

She credits Embry-Riddle for helping her get as far as she has and knows it will continue to impact her career well into the future, thanks to the personal, educational and professional connections she could not have made anywhere else.

“I am truly grateful for all the people I have met, and I look forward to meeting many more people during the rest of my graduate degree studies,” she said.

Larsen encourages prospective students to think hard about what they want to do after receiving their bachelor's degree and says graduate school may help guide them in the right direction if they’re unsure about their next move.

“Graduate school is a great opportunity to further one’s professional skillset and personal marketability,” she said, “In order to be successful in the graduate program, you must hold yourself to a higher standard which, in turn, sets you apart from the crowd.”

Once Larsen completes the master’s program, she is planning to continue her studies with Embry-Riddle by pursuing a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering.