Professor Profile: Dr. Brenda Haven, College of Engineering

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University is not a large public university, but a small and private one where students get one on one time with their professors if need be. There are many students who have connections with their professors and  professors who have many student fans. Follow along below to learn more about an engineering student favorite: Dr. Brenda Haven. Dr. Haven has been teaching at Riddle for 12 years and has a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, a master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering, and a PhD. When not grading papers, she volunteers at her church, walks her dog, and visits family.

Q: What was your very first job out of college? Did you enjoy it?

A: I was in the Air Force. I went through college in the ROTC program and worked as an engineer. My first job was working on the F15 support equipment purchasing. I basically looked at the requirements and determined if what the contractor was suggesting is what we want to buy. I enjoyed it; I got to work with airplanes.

Q: How long did you stay in industry?

A: I was in the Air Force for 25 years. My first 3 assignments were at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base where I did a lot of developmental engineering, weapons systems and things like that. My first job was with the F15 program, and then after 3 years they sent me to the Air Force Institute of Technology which is on the base itself, for a master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering. This is when I took my first propulsion class and I found out I really liked it. Then my next assignment was in the propulsion lab at the base. I met people there that taught at the Air Force Academy and thought maybe that would be fun to do. So, after the 8 years I was at the base, I went to the Air Force Academy and taught.

Q: What was your favorite project you can disclose information from?

A: I would say [being] a project manager for an advanced development engine with General Electric. So looking beyond at the time, the F22 engine which I really found fascinating what types of technologies were in the works and how they put those together to make advanced engines.

Q: Why did you decide to become a professor? And why Embry-Riddle? 

A: The reason I wanted to teach was because I had some good teachers in my master’s degree. The excitement that they had just made the class very, very enjoyable. I had no idea I would like it that much, I thought I would just give it a try. I started teaching at the Air Force Academy, where I really enjoyed teaching propulsion and thermodynamics. I didn’t want to do any more for the Air Force, but I had to get a PhD to keep teaching, which I really didn’t want to do but I did it because I like teaching. A fellow teacher called Dr. Fabian and myself about teaching for Embry-Riddle and I visited and really liked the area.

Q:  Do you have any advice for engineering students about job hunting or upcoming graduation?

A: My biggest advice is to look at opportunities. Not necessarily failures. You may see a job and think that’s not what I really want to do, but if you do your best, the job may show you something you didn’t realize or it might help you find something you want to do.