Outstanding Graduate, Fall 2022
Ian Chandra cites a desire to understand everyday objects and their functions as the factor that drove his interest in mechanical engineering.
“Understanding how phenomena work and wielding that knowledge to develop your own products that ultimately come to fruition as working components in a system or software makes engineering fun,” says Chandra. “The entire process of creating something out of nothing is very exciting.”
The determination that drives Chandra to develop ideas from a concept to a product led him to find opportunities to conduct research. He worked on an ankle robot under the guidance of Hyunglae Lee, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, as part of the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative. He also explored high-speed impact testing of carbon composites under Regents Professor Aditi Chattopadhyay in the Summer Research Initiative.
When he wasn’t in the lab, Chandra also participated in student organizations. He was president and treasurer of Sun Devil Rocketry, an organization that builds and launches high-powered rockets, researches rocket propulsion types, and develops avionics systems. The club also conducted outreach in underprivileged schools in the Phoenix Metro area, hosting three-day STEM programs to teach students the basics of rockets and guide them through the process of building and launching their own. As one who enjoys teaching, Chandra found this opportunity fulfilling and expanded that interest further as a physics teaching assistant and MEE 491 grader.
Chandra regards himself as a true “interdisciplinarian” and appreciates the wide variety of applications mechanical engineering offers in both the space and automotive industries. Along with the variety of experiences above, he served as the EPICS Lake Litter Solutions team finance lead, developing cleaning solutions for Tempe Town Lake.
“I hope that the fruits of our labor as mechanical engineers will impact the lives of others by not only simplifying and improving everyday life, but by inspiring individuals to pursue engineering themselves and become excited for the future they can create ahead,” says Chandra.
As he sets his sights on the bright future on the horizon, Chandra is only beginning his journey. Though he is graduating this semester, he will stay with ASU for another year to complete his master’s degree as an accelerated program student. After that, he says he aspires to play a part in the “spearheading of the next generation of reusable and interplanetary rockets, electrification of the automotive industry or shift toward renewable energy.”