A Day in the Life of Dan Smith ’12

Hi everyone! I’m Dan Smith, Aeronautical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering dual degree student at Clarkson working on my final semester.

Today, I start by heading to Introduction to MATLAB at 8 AM, a class that I’m a TA for. Basically, I assist students in learning how to use MATLAB as well as doing behind-the-scenes items like grading. This is a great way for me to take on a mentoring role with freshmen students, which I find is a rewarding experience, and I make a little money along the way!

After this I head out to my senior design class. At the start of the semester, we were issued a Request For Proposal for a “personal jet”. The class of about 50 students was split in half, making this a competition of sorts. Each team was then split into 5 subgroups, each tasked with developing a different aspect of the aircraft. I am affiliated with the Performance group, which analyzes the forces that act on an aircraft (lift, drag, weight, and thrust) and how they affect things like climb rates, turn rates, ceilings, and even takeoff and landing distances. In today’s class, we are working with the whole team to brainstorm the configuration of the aircraft, that is, what the airplane will look like. After this is settled, one of our team members will draw a basic 3-D model of our concept airplane in a CAD program for us to review next class.

After some downtime to refuel and a change of clothes, it’s time for my favorite part of the day. In high school, I was peer pressured by some close friends into joining the Nordic ski team, and it’s been my pride and joy ever since. I’ve skied at Clarkson for 4 years now, and I’m really going to miss the team. But for now, I drive out to Higley Flow State Park, about 20 minutes away from campus, to go get in a quality workout before Regionals this weekend in Jericho, Vermont. Our team is the most competitive in our league, and the top 5 qualify to race at the prestigious Nationals series of races. Right now, it’s a tight race from 4th place on the team down to 12th place, and it’s been one of my goals since I was a freshman to earn one of those coveted Nationals slots.

Anyways, I plan on doing a two hour bout, and start off taking a couple pictures. Conditions haven’t been ideal this season, so I’m glad to actually be on snow today. Below, you can see a skier’s-eye view as well as a ski’s-eye view at the top of the main hill at Higley

After taking these couple of shots, I slide downhill a bit, trying to grab some of the natural beauty of the park, which is known as one of the best places to ski in northern New York and through the Northeast. Earlier this season I was even fortunate enough to catch a glimpse at the elusive bald eagle!

So with this shot taken, I go into my workout, so that I can achieve my goal. Later this evening I’ll do some homework due for classes later in the week with some good friends. This way, I can be productive but low-stress as well. After a quick snack, I’ll hit the sack so that I’m ready to do it all again tomorrow!


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