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Aerospace in action

Pay attention to what excites you right now—it could give you a hint about what you should study in college. Kash Sigdel’s passion for learning about aerospace goes back to his high school years. At Calvin, he took every opportunity to apply that learning—including the design and construction of a hydrofoil.

  • Author: Michal Rubingh
  • Published: October 2, 2019
  • Author: Michal Rubingh
  • Published: October 2, 2019

Building a hydrofoil 

Mechanical engineering student Kash Sigdel found a way to incorporate his love for aerospace into his senior design project. He built an aerodynamic rescue boat called a hydrofoil.

“Building a hydrofoil is like building the hull of the boat and adding aircraft wings to rise above the water as it sails,” Kash explained.

While it’s not exactly a spacecraft, it has many of the same capabilities that got Kash excited about aerospace in the beginning.

“During high school, I used to watch a lot of aircraft manufacturing documentaries. I was mind-blown when I saw the way raw materials were converted into a giant vehicle that could fly,” reflected Kash.

This was what prompted him to come to Calvin for mechanical engineering.


Learning how to build a hydrofoil definitely presented some challenges to Kash’s senior design team. But they already had the collaboration skills they needed to problem-solve together.

“We collaborate so much right from our first year at Calvin that everyone in my group knew what a successful team effort would look like,” Kash shared. “By the time you graduate, you basically master the skill of working with others.”

Skill application

Kash’s senior design project was also the perfect platform for him to apply his specialized aerospace knowledge to a physical project.

“I did two independent studies at Calvin: one on aeronautical engineering and one on the fundamentals of aerodynamics,” remarked Kash. “I got to apply what I learned in my independent studies to a real life hydrofoil.”

Advice from the workforce

Kash got a job as an applications engineer at JR Automation right after graduating.

“I’m responsible for coming up with a design concept, modeling it in 3D, determining its cost, and submitting it for production,” Kash explained. “It’s satisfying to walk into the shop and see a 40-by-30-by-20-foot machine that turned out exactly how my team and I designed it.”

Kash is learning as he goes, but he’s already developed the confidence to seize new challenges with an eager attitude.

“By the time you graduate, even if you feel a little insecure about the type of work you’ll be doing, you’ll have an inner gut feeling that you are ready for any kind of challenge. And it’s because you survived Calvin’s mechanical engineering program.”

  • Author: Michal Rubingh
  • Published: October 2, 2019


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