Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2022
Andrew Sheehan has served in the Air National Guard for 12 years. He says he loves work as an aviation mechanic, but his desire to design and optimize systems used by aviation mechanics led him to the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.
“I was drawn to the mechanical engineering systems program because of my previous experience,” Sheehan says, “so I have enjoyed learning more about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind components and systems. For example, I’ve discovered that every mechanical problem can be assessed or solved using mathematical means.”
Sheehan says he recognized his studies were the right track for him when his foundations of engineering design, or “101,” course consisted of topics and projects that he would enjoy studying and doing in his free time.
He also says a favorite experience from his time in the Fulton Schools was a project course led by Lecturer Deana Delp. Sheehan and his team created a tractor-mounted crop spray system that automatically adjusted the position of each spray boom to maintain an ideal height above the surrounding terrain.
“At that time, I didn’t know much about devices called Arduino microcontrollers, so I learned directly from my teammates and now use that knowledge frequently,” he says. “The results of our work were put on display at the Innovation Hub, and I recently found a picture of it on the homepage of The Polytechnic School Advising Services Office.”
In addition to his sense of gratitude toward peers, Sheehan is particularly thankful for the support of his wife, Andrea, and his family. He says the completion of his degree program would not have been possible without their encouragement and help.
After graduation, Sheehan starts work as an integration and test engineer with the Launch Vehicles division of Northrop Grumman. He began an internship with the company last summer, and he looks forward to leveraging his previous technical experience alongside his Fulton Schools education to tackle to complex problems.
“I know there are challenges out there for which I can design and develop solutions,” he says.