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Student Spotlight - MS in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

Nicole HillNicole Hill, an aerospace engineer in Duluth, MN, had no prior connection to The University of Alabama when she decided to earn her graduate degree, which she believes will help advance her career.

"The knowledge I gained in my beginning courses helped me land two job offers while my degree was still in progress. I use the knowledge and skills I gained daily at work," Hill said. "If I pursue teaching opportunities in the future, this degree will have been a necessity."

But, UA wasn't her first choice.

"After a good deal of research for online Aerospace Engineering MS programs, I had a very difficult time choosing," Hill said. "I originally chose another school, but after one semester I transferred to the U of A, primarily because the courses cost approximately 40 percent less per credit hour than either of the other two programs."

UA also had another benefit that drew Hill, a new mother, to the program.

"The U of A had the highest time limit for completion of the MS degree. It had a 6-year completion limit, while the others had a 5-year limit. This was very important to me because I had my first child 2 months before beginning my degree and had 2 more children while taking classes."

The flexibility of online courses gave Hill the ability to find a work-life balance. Had she not been able to earn her degree online, she would not have earned her degree at UA.

"The program flexibility, cost and the professors are what made this distance education program work for me. Pursuing an MS while working full time and growing a young family is very difficult. The U of A distance education program allows distance students the flexibility necessary to finish coursework and deal with important work deadlines or urgent family matters," she said.

Hill concluded by thanking the professors who helped her succeed during her educational journey.

"Dr. Lang and Dr. Olcmen are fantastic professors who helped inspire my career focus in aerodynamics. Dr. Jackson provided a good deal of encouragement and advised a special project course. Dr. Sharif provided the flexibility that allowed me to have a baby in the middle of a semester. Without the encouragement, inspiration, and flexibility of these professors and others, I would not have been able to finish my MS," Hill said.


 

As a five-year old, James Kelly watched Neil Armstrong place the American flag on the moon, and it was then he decided he also wanted to leave the boundaries of earth. Kelly, who earned his master's degree in aerospace engineering through distance education at The University of Alabama, piloted the shuttle on its March 2004 mission to Alpha, the international space station.

For information about James Kelly, click here.