"The Willows helped me to think about problems in unique and different ways."

Willows Alum Jack Bush, '07, a third year electrical engineering major at Georgia Institute of Technology, is currently working as a paid intern on the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2' Project at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory collecting data from tests run on different parts of the satellite that will be launched in July 2014 from Vandenberg AFB and orbit the earth collecting carbon percentages from the earth's atmosphere.  

How long is your internship at JPL?  Can you tell us more about what you are working on?  Six months. My specific group is called the Systems Verification and Validation group, and we are in charge of collecting data from the tests run on the different parts of the satellite and assuring these tests meet the standards that were set in place in order to have a successful mission.   

How has your experience been at Georgia Tech?  It has been amazing. The opportunities I've had there (like being able to work at JPL) have been numerous. It has given me the chance to flourish within the environment they provide for their undergraduates.   

What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?  Ever since I was a little kid I have always been interested in technology.  I had even wanted to work on video games, but about my junior year of high school, I decided I really wanted to be an engineer.  It's a field that is always changing. Everyone is looking for the next best thing, and engineers are on the front line when it comes to creating that new idea. Using math and science, I'm able to solve problems every day; something I truly enjoy.

What memories do you have of your days at The Willows? I have a tone of memories from The Willows:  the friendships I made, the Flash Class I taught, the songs I made in Computer Music, and the Science/Tech classes I took that gave me my initial interest with engineering in the first place. I think fondly on my times back at the Willows.

Did your experience at The Willows prepare you for high school or college?  Yes it did. It exposed me to a range of experiences that helped me home in on what I really wanted to do in my life.   

What are your plans after the internship is completed? Since the internship is six months, I will end around February, with my next school term starting in May. I have not really decided what I will be doing with that time yet. I’m leaning towards getting an undergraduate research position back at Georgia Tech to fill that time, but have still not really decided yet.

I know you are extremely busy but are you involved in any extracurricular activities or organizations (fraternities, clubs, etc.)? If yes, can you describe your involvement?  Back at Georgia Tech I try to stay involved on campus, I am a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity and the Academics Honor Societies Eta Kappa Nu (for Electrical and Computer Engineers) and Tau Beta Pi (for general Engineers). I was in line to be in officer positions for these groups, but because I got the offer to work out here for JPL, I had to decline. This summer I was also an Orientation Leader for Georgia Tech.  

What advice would you give to this year’s graduates? Whatever you do, follow what truly inspires you. You all are at a point in your life where you can shape your path.  Make sure it’s the path that you want to go on.

Any advice to fellow alums especially those interested in or pursuing a career in engineering?  Engineering is a great career path and a great major to have. It’s a lot of work, but it will pay off. Even if you decide not to pursue engineering in the long run, many companies are more than willing to hire Engineering students because of their great work ethic and mastery of fairly material.

The Willows inspired me to . . .
    Think outside the box. The Willows helped me to think about problems in unique and different ways than what might be the typical way of doing them. This has helped me tremendously within high school, college, my internship, and I have to assume the rest of my life.

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The Willows School is a DK-8 independent school serving greater Los Angeles.

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