• Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2018

  • Tufts University, Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2019

  • Host Institution: Air Line Pilots Association

  • Mentor: Stephanie Luongo

Sarah Carty is a flight test engineer for the ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), Aviation, and Security business area of Sierra Nevada Corporation. She supports the production, integration, and sustainment of airborne and ground mission systems for the US Air Force.

Sarah grew up in rural Southern Maryland near the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, where seeing an F-18 roaring over an Amish buggy was not a strange sight. The diversity of the area encouraged her to explore many interests—anthropology, human factors engineering, even political science—but ultimately, she graduated from her high school’s STEM Academy set on mechanical engineering. She solidified her interest in aerospace engineering and aviation after summer internships with NAVAIR working on cockpit accommodation and digital human modeling.

While studying mechanical engineering at Tufts University, Sarah took advantage of her liberal arts education and explored interests in French, botany, history, metalforging, and graphic design. She co-founded and lead her university's SEDS chapter, worked as a supervisor in the Nolop makerspace, and was a learning assistant for fluid mechanics. Her favorite project (and bonding experience) was building, launching, and tracking a high-altitude balloon with her SEDS teammates. Sarah also worked as a barista in the Tufts cafés, served admissions as a campus tour guide, and played goalkeeper for the Tufts University Women’s Football Club. She graduated cum laude in the class of 2019 on a rainy day with a minor in French, no umbrella, good cheer, and thesis honors: "Thermophysical Properties of Molten Platinum".

As a Brooke Owens Fellow, Sarah worked at the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) in Herndon, VA. During her internship, she lobbied Senators for secondary barriers on the flight deck, organized and attended the 64th Annual Air Safety Forum, and completed the IFALPA-accredited Accident Investigation Course. Most importantly, she had the opportunity to interact with hundreds of talented pilots who helped her chart a course for obtaining her own pilot's license.

In the immediate future, Sarah will spend her working hours either at the hangar or in the skies learning everything she can about flight test engineering (and trying not to earn herself a callsign).