We’ve all heard the phrase, “This isn’t rocket science,” but
for Paul Gradl, it is. Literally.
Gradl is a propulsion engineer with NASA Marshall Space
Flight Center in Huntsville, AL who will return to Gannon University to deliver
a talk entitled “Rocket Science for Real Life” on Tuesday April 16 at 11 a.m.
in the Zurn Science Center (Z104). This
event, sponsored by Gannon’s Scholars for Excellence in Engineering and
Computer Science program (SEECS), is open to Gannon students, staff, alumni and
the Erie community free of charge.
Gradl was the recipient of the 2011 Gannon Distinguished
Young Alumni award for the engineering skills he displayed through his work at
NASA. He received a bachelors of science in mechanical engineering degree in
2002 and his MBA two years later. He also graduated from the University of
Alabama in 2007 with a master’s degree in systems engineering.
Gradl lead a component-testing program for the “Return of
Flight” efforts after the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, receiving several
awards and recognitions from NASA, including two NASA Exceptional Achievement
Medals, one of NASA’s highest honors. Gradl is currently the lead developer for
advanced technologies for liquid rocket engine combustion device components. He
has also patented a Dynamically Variable Spot Size (DVSS) laser system for
bonding metal components, which provides continuous variability in laser energy
output. Gradl has also written several technical papers and journal articles
for GE Transportation.
Gradl is focusing his speech on his post-graduation
experiences to relate to those students who are in transition between
graduating and finding employment. He will discuss the importance of
problem-solving, negotiation and salesmanship for launching a career.
Gannon’s SEECS Program is proud to host Gradl’s speech to
honor his accomplishments, as well as to exemplify how hard work pays off. The
goals of the SEECS program are to increase the enrollment of academically
talented students in engineering and computer science programs, assist students
through scholarships and rigorous academic support and foster professional
development to prepare students for STEM careers.
Through funds from the National Science Foundation, Gannon University
awards approximately 20 scholarships per year, each renewable for up to four
years. Each recipient can be awarded up to $8,000 a year. The cornerstone of
the program is the Professional and Personal Enrichment Seminar series, which
offers a single, shared experience for all scholars.