Three departments of MAI, favorite work and scientific degree: the history of a young scientist
“Pour atteindre son but, il ne faut qu’aller” (to reach the goal you have to go) - Honoré de Balzac
To reach higher, you need to apply more effort. The same in real life. The Moscow Aviation Institute provides active students with a lot of opportunities for in-depth development in the areas of high technology that is of interest for them, that will help them become unique specialists, realize scientific and professional interests, make a career in industry or science, launch their own business, implement projects or create a breakthrough invention.
Natalia Grigorenko is a graduate of two MAI departments, and she works at the third as an engineer, she is also preparing to defend her PhD and is building a career in the industry: she is planning to become at least a Deputy Chief Designer in the near future. Natalia told the press service of the MAI about how her professional path was built and where her interest in scientific activities came from.
Why did you decide to go to MAI?
I have a love for aviation since I was a child. My grandfather and I used to use our monocles to watch planes. He told me what their characteristics were, what maneuvers they were able to perform. I was thinking of applying either to GUAP or to MAI. In the end, the choice was made in favor of MAI.
How did you build your educational trajectory in the MAI?
Initially, I studied at the Department 306 "Microelectronic electrical systems". I went there because I wanted to find out what printed circuit boards are. Further on I decided to explore something global. Since I was interested in cosmonautics, I decided to go to the master's program at the Department 601 "Space systems and rocket engineering", where I eventually received a diploma with honors. The thesis was related to the analysis and processing of nanosatellite data.
And how did the interest in scientific activity develop? How did you become the applicant for the scientific degree of Candidate of Sciences?
As soon as I completed my bachelor's degree, I started working in "KEMZ". And when I completed my master's degree, I went to "Kronshtadt" company. I realized that I am very interested in navigation and I want to study and develop it at a deeper level. I became a part-time engineer at the Department 305 "Automated systems of orientation and navigation systems" of the MAI and a candidate for a degree in "Navigation solutions using optoelectronic systems of drones".
Accordingly, at the Department I deal with navigation data, work with optics and electronic systems, and conduct small experiments. There is an idea to link the Department with the company "Kronshtadt" in the field of algorithmic structure in terms of navigation solutions for UAVs.
When do you plan to defend your thesis?
I don't want any delays in that. I am currently collecting all the necessary documents. I hope that in six months or maximum in a year I will arrange it.
How does MAI help you develop your professional and scientific interests?
The Institute played the most important role in the step from the childish, abstract and romantic love to aviation towards the business of a lifetime. I am the kind of person who insanely loves work and is ready to work, work and work, and, most importantly, get results.
Moreover, if it wasn't for MAI, I probably wouldn't have become an expert with such a unique set of knowledge and skills. My path through three departments of the MAI helped me gain a wide range of experience and gave me the opportunity to become multidisciplinary expert. I understand that if I am placed in any industry, it will take me very little time to fully understand the specifics, whether it is an airplane or a rocket, a separate unit or a whole machine.
What achievements are you particularly proud of?
At the moment, I would say that I am proud of my job in the "Kronshtadt" company. Because starting from scratch and reaching to the position of a leading engineer in the chief designer's group in just a few years is not an easy path, although it is very interesting.
You are currently working on an educational project for aviation students. Could you tell us more about it?
I have been caring this idea for 3 years, I always wanted to do something like this in my small homeland — in Stavropol. The project "Young aviators" was born at the forum "Engineers of the future" in 2020, when I decided to participate in a grant competition from Rosmolodezh. I didn't get the grant, but I didn't give up the idea either, because it was very dear to me personally. I myself and my friends really needed such a thing when we were kids.
The idea is to organize career guidance classes for school children using a real cockpit and working computers. So that an ordinary regional schoolboy knows that there are many different interesting professions in the aviation industry, from an IT expert to a pilot. So that he can create a program or a drone with his own hands, study the device of the aircraft, sit in the cockpit and feel what it is like. In other words, so that he could briefly plunge into this field and try on different professions.
What is the current stage of the project?
I'm only at the beginning of my journey. I need more technical support. At the moment, I am negotiating with the Union of machine builders of Russia, and I plan to involve my Alma mater in this project.
What professional and scientific plans do you have for the future?
As for research, I will be able to answer after defending my PhD. Maybe I'll go on to the Doctor. And from the point of view of professional development, there is a place to grow and strive for in my company. When I got a job at “Kronshtadt”, they asked me at the interview: "Who do you see yourself in 5 years?" I answered: "At least Deputy Chief Designer."
And the plans haven't changed so far?
I want to keep going, and I'm not going to stop. Of course, I have more global plans, but I would like to tell about that later.
You were in the top ten of the list of top 100 personal rating in "Engineers of the future-2020". What helped you take this position?
In fact, the support of my University and team helped me the most. In addition, I devoted all my free time to the forum — every day from 16: 00 to 22: 00.
The victory was not the final target, it was very interesting to find out what will happen next. We made videos and participated in all events of the forum's business, educational, cultural and sports programs. If someone launched a challenge, we participated. The rating was based on this: winning certain events plus passing business and educational program. And also in the business program at the end of the lecture, the speaker chose the most interesting questions of the participants and it provided additional 3 points.
What advice would you like to give to the first-year students who already burn with desire to develop professionally and scientifically?
I recommend that they grab this desire, hold it, and don't lose it. And reach for their goal, despite a number of difficulties that they may come across on their path. The most important thing is that they are in the right place, because MAI provides all the opportunities to grow and develop. A nice bonus to this will be a unique set of acquired skills and knowledge. Most importantly, take steps and, as I like to say, "don't throw your hands up."