I am a senior mechanical engineering undergrad with interests in aerospace, specifically the thermal sciences. I go to Penn State. However, I only have a 3.49 GPA, which makes me nervous considering how selective the top engineering programs are. I am interested in these following schools:
University of Texas, Austin
Penn State (I think this is my best shot but I prefer a change of scenery)
Maybe some other Big Ten school and a reach school like UC Berkley or something.
To summarize my stats:
Major: Mechanical engineering; interests in thermal design and aerospace
GPA: 3.49 / 4.00
Research: one summer REU dealing with fluid flow (relevant to my research interests), presented at an ASME conference (no publications).
Internships: good thermal design internships at a major aerospace company and NASA. Both internships are directly relevant to the thermal sciences and the research areas I plan to pursue.
I also serve as a technical writing/speaking TA at my school, and I take relevant technical electives which may help my application (I think).
Recommendations: I know I can get great recommendations from my technical writing professor and my research advisor (who is a heat transfer prof). I can also ask my mentor at NASA (who also does thermal sciences work).
Do I stand a chance with a mediocre GPA? Do you think I can get funded? I want a career in research, or at least something close to that. I hate the prospects of graduating with simply a B.S. and going straight to industry to work an office doing grudge work. I love research and I want to pursue it, even if that means a PhD someday. I plan to email a couple departments to get information on their labs.
Thank you very much!!! And please, if there is something I need to hear, tell me the truth.