On Friday, October 13th, Detroit Catholic Central High School Alumni Dr. Patrick Hammer presented to students in Rebecca Mulrooney’s class about his career in Aerospace Engineering and job as a Research Air Space Engineer at the United States Air Force Research Laboratory. He hopes to encourage more young men to pursue careers in the aerospace field, whether it is in STEM, the military, Air Force, or another branch of service.
During his presentation, Dr. Hammer passed around a 3D model of an aircraft, answered questions from students about his career, and raffled off a model airplane. He was inspired to talk to Catholic Central students after seeing the advancements in the school’s STEM program, including a RedBird 180° Flight Simulator, NASA MIE Alliance Partnership, a full-size U.S. Navy airplane in the science hall, and the launch of an Aviation Program, coming in the fall of 2024.
“I am completely blown away by where CC is at. I thought - I have to go talk to students there and do what I can to get them interested in aerospace and build this STEM program. I may not be able to do a whole lot, but I at least want to be a resource for aerospace defense. I easily foresee CC becoming the preeminent high school in the country, based on what I have seen,” stated Dr. Hammer.
Dr. Hammer graduated from Detroit Catholic Central High School in 2004 and attended Michigan State University for his undergraduate degree, where he studied mechanical engineering. He did a spring internship at the NASA Glen Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio and completed his thesis at the University of Dayton before earning his Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University in 2016.
After graduating, Dr. Hammer worked in the laboratory as a post-doctoral researcher at MSU. He began his career at the Air Force Research Laboratory in 2019 and currently works on computer simulations to help support the Air Force’s need for game-changing survivability, weapon lethality, and system performance.
His love for planes and aerospace began during childhood. However, he became serious about pursuing a career in aerospace after 9/11 as a student at CC. “After 9/11, I wanted to do what I could to serve my country. Growing up loving planes, I wanted to design them instead of flying them. I wanted to serve our country in the Air Force,” Dr. Hammer explained.
During his time at CC, Dr. Hammer enjoyed going to football and sporting games, Boys’ Bowl weekend festivities, and assemblies. He was a member of the Spanish Club and Academic Team’s Quiz Bowl League during his sophomore to senior years.
“One thing I want to stress is that I was a fairly decent student. I did not get straight-A’s or have a 4.95 GPA. I was a 3.5 type of student. During one of the quarters from junior to senior year, I got a B. I was an average student, and yet now through hard work, I work at one of the top labs in the country, and honestly, the world,” Dr. Hammer stated.
His advice for CC students who are interested in getting into the aerospace industry is to get involved in professional societies. “Look into outreach programs in high school or college and volunteer at some of their events. Join academic programs with a focus on areas you are interested in, but do not overlook some of the smaller places that are not known for aerospace. When you learn the basics, you can focus on that. Do not discount some of the smaller schools,” recommended Dr. Hammer.
For more information about getting involved in the aerospace industry, contact Amy Ely at email@example.com.