By: Kelly A. Salzo
MSE sophomore Jordan Kovacs received the Igor Sikorsky Scholarship, providing her with the opportunity to work at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a world leader in the design, manufacture, and service of military and commercial helicopters and fixed-wing aircrafts. The Igor Sikorsky Scholarship Program (ISSP) is a crucial element of Sikorsky’s diversity recruiting effort, simultaneously preparing students for full-time employment through hands-on training, challenging job assignments, and mentors to enhance career development.
Six scholars were chosen, all receiving $10,000 scholarships for the next two years to support their education and a 10-week summer internship at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in each student’s area of interest. Recipients are also required to plan and participate in service and volunteer events.
“This program is an amazing opportunity to learn how large engineering companies are organized,” Jordan says. “System integration is crucial for any engineering product, but at Sikorsky they’re making an entire product start to finish with many different complicated parts that not only must met industry standards, but also need to be reasonably manufacturable. It’s really great to be able to see all of that come together.”
For her summer internship, Jordan is working in support of a materials testing program using industry standards to design and test samples for strength and fatigue. Additionally, she will be testing for surface and core hardness to determine which surface hardening techniques work best and are most cost effective for gears.
She says that she is most excited for the opportunity to work for a company that creates helicopters. “It’s a great feeling knowing that you contributed to the success of a program.”
Jordan first became interested in materials science and engineering after touring a concrete plan during high school. She was especially interested in how different concrete recipes would result in different strength as properties. This experience helped make her decision to pursue MSE at UConn.
Aside from her studies, Jordan is also involved with the Time Capsule to Mars research project, which is an intercollegiate project involving over 15 schools including UConn, MIT, Duke, and Georgia Tech. The mission is to send a time capsule to Mars using crowd funding and sponsorship from large aerospace companies. UConn is specifically looking at storage devices to be used for the time capsule and the various types of materials that need to be used to protect the storage device as it enters the Mars Atmosphere and lands on the surface. Last year, she focused her research on adhesives and is looking forward to continuing the project next semester.
“Don’t be afraid to try new things.” Jordan advises. “The Sikorsky Scholarship looks for people who possess leadership qualities and are looking to go above and beyond. That being said, you should follow your interests within engineering. There are always opportunities at UConn through the SOE department to get involved with a lot of different organizations- or start your own!”