Aerospace Seniors Achieve Perfect 4.0

Join us in honoring David Dowdell and Thomas Nilles, two Aerospace Engineering students who are graduating with an overall 4.0 grade-point average. These outstanding students have never received less than an “A” in any of their courses. On May 4th, they were honored by President Harroz at a ceremony for their accomplishments.

David Dowdell’s favorite part of AME at OU is the small class sizes; being able to get to know his classmates. Dowdell majored in Aerospace engineering because he wanted to study engineering and believed aerospace to be the most exciting option.

“As far as strategies for success go,” Dowdell said, “I think what helped me the most was trying to get every assignment done early if possible. Even it wasn’t possible, the extra time I’d spend thinking about it usually helped me understand it.”

His plans after graduation are to start working for Northrop Grumman in Palmdale, CA in August.

The first piece of advice he’d give to any student is, “to avoid procrastinating.” Dowdell says, “The second is to be willing to learn more than just what the classes teach. Engineering requires it.”

Thomas Nilles says, “the engineering projects are [his] favorite part of AME here at OU. Almost every engineering course [he’s] taken has had a project associated with it. They are stressful, but they are also fun and rewarding.”

As a kid, Nilles loved to play with Legos. He thinks that is what fostered his development as both a creative person and a builder. Flight was always mysterious and magical to Nilles. His desire to understand what makes aircraft fly really cemented his desire to be an aerospace engineer.

Nilles said, his, “calculator and 5-hour energy helped [him].” Far more important than those things, he says, are the people who helped him. He has had, “so many great professors here at OU that have been as invested in [his] success as [he’s] been.” Nilles appreciates that they go above and beyond for their students. He says his “dad has also been a huge part of [his] success.” He is not only his dad but also his friend and mentor. He has been there for Nilles in the toughest times. Nilles says he, “could not have succeeded here at OU without him.” Finally, he says he owes a great deal to his daughter who has been a constant source of joy in his life. She keeps him grounded and he loves her so much.

Nilles says for him, “it’s time to start building.” He’s had a lot of fun here at OU, but he looks forward to getting back to work. He said he’s, “keeping [his] fingers crossed for the right job to come along soon.”

“[His] advice for other students is to get into the right mindset. You are not here to get A’s. You are not here to get a degree. You are not here to get paid the big bucks someday. You are here to get an education. Education is a team sport so be a team player. Work with your professors, not against them. Help your classmates when you can. Get involved in the competition teams and take some friends with you to the meetings.”

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