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Introduction to the Author

Hello Dr. Ferrar, classmates, and anyone else that may find this blog.  I would like to start off by apologizing for the appearance of this site; at the time of this post I have had limited experience with WordPress formatting and will continue to develop that skill as the semester moves forward.  Although it is tempting to purchase the premium membership for full control of this page, I will give myself a bit more time to adjust to the formatting aspect of the blog.

My name is Timothy McMullen, and I am a mechanical engineering major here at Temple University.  I have taken what you may refer to as “the scenic route” during the course of my college education, and only in the last few years did I finally discover an area of study that I would end up immersing myself in.  Directly out of high school, I had no idea what course of action to take regarding my future, and so I enrolled in Bucks County Community College to take general emphasis courses, with a focus in music technology (I was in a few bands at the time).  Working and making money would take my focus off of school though, and after a few years I graduated with a relatively useless (relatively because thanks to my BCCC degree, I would not ever have to take a Gen Ed course at TU) Associate’s Degree.

Fast forward a few more years, and I found that my well-paying management job at a beer distributor was not going to be enough for me to attain some of the goals that I hoped to accomplish.  I always had a fascination with aviation, and found the job that forensic investigators with the National Transportation Bureau of Safety (NTSB) to be especially important when investigating accidents.  NTSB agents are responsible for literally piecing together enormous vessels that have been decimated by unfathomable forces, and then identifying what sometimes turns out to be a seemingly minuscule oversight in design or an unnoticed component in need of maintenance.  With this admiration in mind, I would read more and more about aviation and specifically the development and specifications of jet-powered commercial aircraft.

This fascination and research eventually led me to mechanical engineering, and when someone close to me suggested that I go back to school and seek a degree in the field, I jumped at the opportunity.  I spent a semester at Temple University Japan in Tokyo, retaking some math courses and college-level writing courses while living in one of the most technologically advanced cities in the world.  When I came back to the States I was admitted into the same College of Engineering major that my younger brother (unbeknownst to me) was attending.  Having someone in my immediate family that shared the same passion as myself was a great boost for my ability to learn material and develop ideas, as it frequently enabled us to engage in intelligent and problem-solving conversations.

With this semester underway, I am hoping to use this blog to discuss the applications of the Fluid Dynamics and Linear Systems courses taught by Dr. Ferrar to each other and to aerospace engineering, which coincidentally turns out to be his specific area of research.  I have come a long way since taking Introduction to Music Technology courses at BCCC.  I am looking forward to working with you, my classmates, this semester, and continuing my journey towards the sky, both literally and figuratively.

Thank you for reading,



About timpalamcmuffin

I'm a mechanical engineering student that loves aviation and hockey.

20 responses to “Introduction to the Author

  1. Raymond ⋅

    Your post was very thorough and interesting, and although I did not take the “scenic route” to get to mechanical engineering I feel myself communicating with those older than me. Just a week ago, I found out one of my classmates from Differential Equations was 30yrs old, that’s 10yrs older than me. Even though age is just a number, the experience my older friends have are extraordinary, and its interesting to see where they have been and what jobs they previously had. I’ve always wanted to go to Tokyo to take a class and explore Japan. Of course money being an issue and the courses provided don’t fit with what I need to take but I will definitely visit in the future. I’d love to hear about your experience there as I know a friend that took a GenEd there. He told me it was exciting and would visit again if he had enough money to go a second time. Did you live by yourself while you were there? Have any recommendations to places to visit while I’m there?

    • Thank you for reading! I lived in a dorm with many other students from secondary schools and universities, including TUJ. I especially enjoyed the Shibuya district of Tokyo, and had the opportunity to take a trip to northern Honshu. We stayed at a beautiful onsen resort and explored the gorgeous mountains in the autumn.

      There are too many places to name, you just have to go there and explore! Having a plan is not the best plan in such a vast and diverse city! 😉

  2. Tim, your post was very interesting and your story was very similar to mine. As I also took the “scenic route” I feel like I have a new appreciation for school and completing my engineering degree. Also your web page is very well laid out and has encouraged me to go about changing mine because it is still very simple. Thanks for posting.

  3. Hi Tim, I see that you have a picture of the C-17 and an airbus on your blog website, and I know you mentioned that you want to work for the NTSB; just for curiosity do you have any preference on wanting to do your job for commercial airlines or either for the military? Or is your passion for working for both?

  4. jbotula

    I can relate to you (and Garrett as well), being another “scenic route” engineering student. I finished an undergrad degree in something different in 2012 and after several years out, decided that my career trajectory didn’t reflect my current priorities and goals. Although it hasn’t been *that* long, I can’t help but compare my outlook as a 20/21 year old with my outlook today – a lot (and then again, not so much) has changed!

  5. I think it is pretty cool you went to Tokyo for a semester. I think it would be cool to live in a different country. I think engineering majors should be required to do one light semester abroad. They keep us inside the rest on the time…

  6. klkianzad

    Hey Tim, great first post. I am also taking the “scenic route” through higher education. I graduated high school in 2009 and spent a few years working while getting an associates in General Studies at Harrisburg Area Community College. Originally I planned to become an architect but was directed towards engineering and love it so far. I am also a ME major with about a year or so left to my bachelors and have been contemplating graduate school. I didn’t plan on taking the scenic route through college but it might not be such a bad idea. Japan sounds like it was a great time and I would love to visit sometime. I have done a little bit of traveling myself and have found out that conventional schooling is just one of the many ways to learn.

    Talk to you soon, KLK

  7. Hey Tim. Great Post. I also took a very scenic route. (one could argue that it was a detour) But I found myself managing and restaurant after several years of tending bar. Much like yourself I didn’t have much direction and I definitely didn’t have the focus in my earlier years. Your blog was inspiring to read. Good luck in your endeavors.

  8. Leo

    It is really interesting reading a post like yours that shows me another way of life. I come from China and back there almost everyone is the same, 12 years of studying, go to college, graduate, get a job, blah blah blah. But here I have seen so many different people that have so many different stories. This is awesome.

  9. tue9Nick ⋅

    Nice post Tim, Im glad I stumbled upon this. I too spent a short period of time at a community college as well as in the beer biz–I currently work for a brewery in Philadelphia. I could go on about retaking math classes and what not but I won’t.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  10. zachscanfluids ⋅

    This is a very cool story Tim. Taking classes in Japan must’ve been very interesting Ill have to ask you about that sometime. That’s also awesome how you have a brother in the same program. Also thanks for suggesting the surface book to me I love this thing.

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