Rick Ahlf – Outstanding Undergraduate
B.S.E. in Aerospace Engineering (Aeronautics)
B.S. in Sustainability (Sustainable Energy, Materials and Technology)
Graduated from Timberline High School in Lacey, Washington
Rick Ahlf’s view of engineering is applying innovative forward-thinking technologies that will maximize social equity, economic profitability and environmental resilience while pushing us towards new creative horizons.
Ahlf reached his own new horizon as he came to ASU from Lacey, Washington to explore a new area with new opportunities, meet new people and experience some hot weather here in the Valley.
Ahlf is an honors student and will be graduating with a B.S.E. in Aerospace Engineering (Aeronautics) and a B.S. in Sustainability (Sustainable Energy, Materials and Technology). His Honors Thesis is titled Identification of the Origins of Blade Vortex Interaction (BVI) Noise in Helicopters.
“Completing my honors thesis paper and my defense and contributing new knowledge to the engineering community was very rewarding,” Ahlf says.
“I chose engineering because of my interest in math and science, applying the knowledge that I know to real-world issues,” says Ahlf. “I chose aerospace engineering because I have always been fascinated with aircraft and helicopters, and I want to revolutionize the industry by pursuing new innovative technologies.”
Ahlf knew he was following the right path when he got his first few aerodynamics assignments. “I was spending hours coding in MATLAB, finally getting results that I knew were reasonable/correct felt like solving a true engineering problem for the first time,” he says. “And it only got harder from there.”
He joined a fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, and made true lifelong friends. “I spent spring break in Mexico with all of my fraternity brothers my junior year, enjoying the beach and playing football. As soon as we got back, it was back to the grind. Work hard, play hard.”
“Having a second degree in sustainability has given me the tools to evaluate issues from a qualitative economic and environmental standpoint, allowing me to then apply the quantitative skills I have gathered from my engineering coursework to create sustainable resilient solutions.”
Ahlf will be working as a propulsion engineer at Boeing Co. after graduation and will also be returning to ASU next year to complete his Master’s degree in aerospace engineering.