By Clarence Cheung and Elan Andison
Malav Naik is a 2020 graduate of the University of Alberta’s Mechanical Engineering Program with a specific interest in aerospace. Currently, he is pursuing a graduate degree in aerospace engineering at Purdue University in Indiana, USA.
Although his passion for aerospace has always been present, Malav just recently joined the AlbertaSat team in June of 2020 after hearing about how engaging and exciting the club is from a current team member, Katie. He debated joining AlbertaSat over the course of his undergraduate degree, and finally decided to join after developing what he calls a “just do it” mentality. Malav credits this mindset as being extremely beneficial, as it allows him to step out of his shell and take on new projects and challenges.
Malav has been an essential member to the Mechanical Team here at AlbertaSat, and has been working on a variety of challenging projects over the course of the last year. Having assisted on thermo-mechanical simulations and finite element analysis (FEA) for the Ex-Alta 2 CubeSat, Malav found that the tasks that took months to figure out were extremely enjoyable and satisfying to complete. He stated that solving complex problems while simultaneously learning new skills and techniques was one of the most challenging yet intriguing aspects of his team.
Althhough Malav is fond of solving problems within his field of expertise, he finds the tasks that are outside of those boundaries to be even more memorable, as they require him to step out of his comfort zone and truly embrace his “just do it” mentality. These tasks allowed him to gain a new and improved knowledge pertaining to them, and have also allowed for him to feel more comfortable getting further involved with AlbertaSat. Malav’s involvement has also expanded socially, attending game nights and other team functions, all of which have helped him create new friendships with other AlbertaSat members over the course of this past year. With the new friendships he has made in AlbertaSat, and the swift occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Malav finds himself missing the many informal conversations he once shared with fellow members that would have occurred in an in-person setting.
Aside from gaining technical experience and new friends during his time with AlbertaSat, Malav has found that his knowledge of team dynamics and his confidence to take initiative have greatly improved. He has also gained valuable skills that enable him to foster connections with industry professionals. This knowledge is beneficial to his future endeavours, as he hopes to one day work for a company that allows him to pursue work or research on “cool things.” One company he is highly interested to work at would be MDA, a space technology company, due to their involvement with the International Space Station and future missions like the Lunar Gateway program.
Outside of technical hobbies, Malav loves watching all types of sports, learning about investing and the stock market, and reading, which allows him to take a step back and relax when life becomes busy. He is also an avid traveller, having visited space-related destinations like Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Centre, as well as historical attractions such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Coliseum in Italy.
From what Malav has learned throughout his time at the University of Alberta and AlbertaSat, he stresses the importance of pursuing whatever you are interested in and adopting the same “just do it” mentality that he utilizes. He emphasizes not worrying about the extra workload or letting the intimidation of a new club/team discourage you when debating whether to participate in school activities. If he were to offer advice to current University of Alberta students from first years to graduating students, he would say to worry about the present as the future will take care of itself.