Thursday, June 30, 2011
WRITTEN IN THE STARS: ENGINEERING STUDENT FINDS HIS FUTURE OFF THE GROUND
MANHATTAN -- Bryan Rogler has always had his eyes skyward.
The Kansas State University senior in mechanical engineering, Olathe, says there was no specific beginning to his interest in space. It could have been when he was given a telescope as a high school sophomore and he spent countless hours identifying different aspects of the solar system, such as Orion Nebula. Or it could have been during his senior year of high school when he began taking pilot courses. Regardless, the skies tell the stories of the past and Rogler hopes they tell his future as well.
He would like to be an astronaut.
"That dream depends on the private sector because that's where space travel is heading," Rogler said. "They are doing more stuff with what I am interested in. I might very well go in that direction -- it depends on what pans out."
Rogler has been preparing for a career involving flight for a while. Along with his pilot courses in high school, he began flying with the K-State Flying Club in January. He also was inspired in his career choice by a relative.
"My uncle is a pilot for the Air Force and has been for years," Rogler said. "He actually learned to fly at K-State as well. I thought it was cool that he could just take a plane up and go wherever he wanted."
As a part of the flying club, Rogler pilots a Cessna 172. He would usually fly about twice a week during school. He has been able to navigate the skies more frequently this summer while he does research and as a member of K-State's chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Rogler is on the chapter's competition team and is helping develop an autopilot system for the club's radio-controlled aircraft. He's also served as chapter president.
The chapter just placed fifth at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International's Student Unmanned Air Systems competition. The team established a camera and transmission system for their aircraft and adapted an autopilot system to aid in flight.
Along with participating on the competition team, Rogler has been a teaching assistant for the department of mechanical and nuclear engineering.
He plans to attend graduate school after finishing his degree at K-State, which he credits for preparing him to take the next step in his future plans.
"Very broadly, K-State is one of the best all-around experiences as far as academics, Greek life, sporting events," Rogler said. "Engineering provided me with a sense of problem-solving. If I'm given a predicament I could probably think of ways of making it work. It has provided me with a way of approaching situations logically and using math and science."
Rogler, a 2008 graduate of Olathe South High School, is a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity.