Ph.D. Student at the University of Central Florida
Taylor Peterson ’21 is a Carthage graduate who majored in physics, was heavily involved in the Carthage Microgrativty Team, and received many opportunities from the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium.
Taylor is now a graduate student at UCF, working toward her Ph.D. in aerospace engineering. Taylor’s two main research topics include microfluidics in microgravity and performing CFD and finite element analysis of cryogenic fuels flowing through pipes in microgravity.
“My favorite memories at Carthage would be spending time with my friends in our lab. The Microgravity Team had a great flow of people the last few years, and we always knew how to have fun while still getting work done!”
What have you enjoyed most about your career?
“I have enjoyed learning more about the areas we are currently lacking research in for future space missions. They are things you don’t always think about! I have also enjoyed my classes, as they are engineering and fluids-focused.”
How did Carthage prepare you?
“I have received opportunities through the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium and the Microgravity Team! I gained engineering knowledge without the course and gained experience presenting my research to a general and expert audience.”
Why did you choose Carthage?
“I chose Carthage specifically for the Microgravity Team. During my process of visiting colleges, I saw one slide about this team and knew this was the place for me. I did everything I could during my freshman year to join that team! It was the best decision I could have made.”
What opportunities were made possible because of your Carthage experience?
“I have had plenty of experiences because I attended Carthage, specifically because of the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC) and Prof. Kevin Crosby. I received multiple NASA internships, and presented my research at a few WSGC conferences, including once at Capitol Hill for the 30th Anniversary of Space Grant. I was a part of the team that won the Lemelson MIT Student Prize Competition. I also had the opportunity to fly with my experiments in zero gravity, leading to a part-time job as a flight coach with the Zero Gravity Corporation!”
What Carthage professors played a part in your success and how?
“Prof. Kevin Crosby has made the biggest impact on my success. He was kind enough to let me on the Microgravity Team in my freshman year and gave me countless opportunities to grow from then on! He allowed me to work up to being the team leader of a few projects on the team and present the work on multiple occasions. Specifically, I was one of two students (the other being Cassandra Bossong). He asked to travel to Capitol Hill in February 2020 to present how the team has positively impacted our lives/careers. He also let me go on various parabolic flights to test our experiments and help train newer members in the new zero gravity environment!”
Were you an award recipient? If so, tell us about the awards you received and what they meant to you.
“I received two endowed scholarships, the gold leadership award (one year), Undergraduate Research Fellowships through the WSGC during summer 2018 and 2019, a NASA internship during summer 2020 and 2021, the undergraduate research scholarship for the 2020-2021 academic year, and the Lemelson MIT Student Prize Competition in 2020 along with four other students.”
What role have the values in Carthage's mission, "Seeking Truth, Building Strength, Inspiring Service — Together" played in your life?
“Working together was a huge part of our team during my time at Carthage. If one person was off, the entire team was off. This is still true in my studies at UCF. Communication is key, and we have to work as a team to get our experiments done in a timely and correct manner.”