My name is John Ainikkal and I am currently a junior at Purdue University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. I was born and raised in India until I was 11. I then moved to Saudi Arabia for middle school. After that, I went to a boarding school, Western Reserve Academy, for high school where I had the opportunity to meet Kenneth Kaufman, and he has served as an excellent resource for me ever since.
Over the course of my first year in college, Ken and I had several Skype calls discussing what I envisioned my career to be and what I hoped to get out of my engineering degree. To get a feel for what I wanted in my professional career, I decided I wanted to gain experience with a startup company to see what this setting had to offer. The next step was to find a company that was innovative, interesting, and engineering oriented. The John Ernest Foundation was able to find me an internship with a startup gyrocopter company in Germany that met those standards: Rotorvox. After finishing up my first year in the mechanical engineering program, I wanted to utilize my newfound knowledge in real life applications. Working with gyrocopters provided me with exactly that!
As an engineer, knowledge is important but applied knowledge is worth a lot more. At Rotorvox, I was able to see the various departments of the company such as the purchasing and receiving of materials, production, assembly, quality assurance, and design. My understanding was put to the test when I had to conduct vibration reduction analyses to decrease the resonance in the monocoque. In addition to the technical experience, I can honestly say that I could not have asked for a better team to work with. My coworkers were very patient and understanding when teaching me all about gyrocopters starting from the base up. Learning about the German culture was a bonus that canot be equaled. I got to visit all the major cities and some weekends I would go to one of my colleague’s house to meet their families and see more of Germany in a non-tourist manner. This opportunity presented me with challenges and scenarios that make my engineering experience unique from the rest. This chance also gave me the confidence that I needed in learning about my abilities to adapt in a new environments which will serve me well in my career ahead.