Another testimonial from a student participant in the 2011 Helicopter Workshop program:
Dear Professor Gates:
I never got to thank you for the wonderful experience I had with the 2011 National Helicopter Workshop, and I apologize that it has taken this long for me to really think about the impact it has had on me. Since childhood, I have had a passion for art and creativity, and in high school, I gained a love of engineering. While pursuing an engineering degree at my university, I felt aimless, like all the work I was doing was only leading up to a typical engineering job in the industry (no offense intended whatsoever, my personality is a bit strange). I can’t tell you how important it was for me to listen to the stories of the pioneers of Kaman, Sikorsky, and AirOcean in a lecture by Professor Wei. For the entire summer afterwards, I kept thinking, “I want that. I want to make a great contribution and put great efforts towards something I find riveting.” And eventually, I decided that if I ever got the opportunity to research and gain expertise on holograms, I would work towards creating the world’s first holographic computer. The idea now is just an idea, but at least now, I have a reason to dream, and a purpose for doing the absolute best I can in my classes. Working on this dream of mine’s will require the best of my creativity and engineering. I thank you for the opportunity to allow me to explore my own interests and desires. I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to finally walk into a class, knowing its direct application to my future goals. I am taking a computer science and engineering class, for my major, a digital and experimental arts class, to allow the growth of my creativity, a history of science class, so I can study patterns of progress in science to hopefully apply them to technological progress one day, and a model rocketry class for fun. I have never loved studying this much. Even though I do not intend to study helicopters or even aeronautical and astronautical engineering in the future, I hope you do not feel I was a waste of time and effort at the Helicopter Workshop. Thank you for everything. You have no idea what the ability to dream means to me.
University of Washington
P.S. – I created a research poster for my university about the Helicopter Workshop, presented it at a NASA Space Grant Poster Reception, and had the richest conversation with a physics professor who used to be a helicopter pilot for the Marine Corps. Coincidentally, he has also flown in rocketry competitions, and he supports women in engineering. For this conversation and opportunity to network, I thank you as well.