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Kentucky

Military career opens doors for Eastern Kentucky engineering student

LEXINGTON, Ky. (November 11, 2022) — Donovan Dye grew up in japanese Kentucky and mentioned he actually did not know what an engineer did. Of course he knew what a scientist was, however he by no means thought he would truly turn into one. To date: Dye is about to graduate with an engineering diploma from the University of Kentucky, is a member of the Air Force National Guard and is an undergraduate researcher on the UK’s Center for Applied Energy Research.

Dye discovered himself at knowledgeable crossroads as he started his journey in 2016. A local of McDowell, Kentucky, he had a great job. He labored as an automotive technician for Don Jacobs BMW in Lexington.

Still, he dreamed of extra.

Dye graduated from South Floyd High School in McDowell, a small city of 700 individuals in Floyd County, Kentucky, simply exterior of Prestonsburg. He has at all times loved working along with his fingers and the trail to turning into a BMW technician was tempting.

After graduating highschool, Dye enrolled in an automotive engineering program in Illinois in a significant that supplied him one of the best probability of moving into the aggressive BMW-specific program. He was accepted into this system and moved to Orlando, Florida to start coaching.

After finishing this system in 2008, Dye took his first paid job as a BMW technician in Huntsville, Alabama. Dye left that place in 2012 to return to the Commonwealth. He relocated to Springfield, Kentucky and accepted an identical place at Don Jacobs BMW in Lexington.

“I did the same job for about six or seven years,” Dye mentioned. “Although I enjoyed working on vehicles, problem solving had become monotonous and I really needed a new challenge to do something that would make a greater contribution to society.”

He put up indicators on his bed room door itemizing 3 ways forward. He knew he had a call to make and he wished to regulate his probabilities.

The first choice was to maneuver to a much bigger metropolis with extra alternatives and maintain engaged on BMWs. Option two was to affix the navy. Option three was to return to high school and turn into an engineer.

His choice to mix the latter two choices propelled Dye to a British navy life that continues to open doors to new alternatives.

In 2016, Dye joined the Louisville-based Air Force National Guard able to turn into a C-130 plane attendant. He spent the primary few months having fundamental navy coaching in San Antonio, Texas, and acquired follow-up coaching in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Wichita Falls, Texas.

Dye’s expertise and dedication have earned him a number of awards and accolades. He acquired the Commander’s Award for tutorial excellence, excessive requirements of management, teamwork and character. He additionally volunteered as an airman to enhance his management expertise and turn into much less shy.

Things bought busier in his personal life too. Immediately after navy coaching, Dye married his greatest good friend Alex.

Back in Kentucky, it was time to tackle his subsequent problem. He enrolled within the Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) BluePlus program to enroll in engineering within the UK.

After receiving his affiliate diploma from BCTC, he moved to the UK College of Engineering’s Department of Chemical Engineering. Donovan accepted a collaboration alternative at Parker Hannifin O-Ring Division.

In 2019, Donovan and Alex welcomed their first little one, Liam.

The new mother and father acquired sudden information. Donovan’s co-op place was eradicated and he needed to muddle via. Zach Fuqua, Director of Career Development on the UK College of Engineering’s Career and Co-op Office, recommended contacting the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) to see if analysis alternatives have been obtainable for college students.

“UK CAER gave me a chance,” says Donovan. “And I’m sure glad they did.”

As of Fall 2019, Donovan has been working for CAER’s Carbon Materials Group, engaged on changing coal into high-quality carbon fibers. CAER is without doubt one of the few locations on the planet the place carbon fiber may be constructed from coal, and Donovan has performed an integral position within the course of.

As if this life wasn’t hectic sufficient, in June 2020 the navy referred to as. He was deployed to Kuwait for six months as a part of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Back in Kentucky, he continued his engineering research and work at CAER.

Donovan continues to work because the C-130 restore and salvage crew chief. He spends at the least one weekend a month in Louisville constructing wheel and tire assemblies, manipulating touchdown gear and flight management surfaces that permit the planes to fly.

The Dye household additionally lately welcomed a brand new little one – Oakleigh who’s now 2 months previous. Donovan will graduate as an engineer in May 2023.

“Having children was very important to me,” he says. “I’ll be the first to admit that my schedule makes things challenging. Alex has been incredibly supportive. Like most college students, I lose sleep over homework. But she loses a lot more sleep than I do and I can’t thank her enough for what she means to me and my family.”

The workforce at CAER continues to be amazed at how Donovan is ready to deal with all of it and do it with such a optimistic and cheerful angle.

“Dye is a dedicated and very self-motivated undergraduate research assistant who consistently does great work,” mentioned Matt Weisenberger, Associate Director of CAER’s Carbon Materials Group. “I feel his navy self-discipline and a focus to element shine via. Dye is a pleasure to work with.”

What the longer term holds for the Dye household remains to be up for debate.

“I recently started working at CAER in battery research and development. We test various graphites and manufacture lithium-ion button batteries. That was very interesting for me,” said Donovan. “I really hope to go to grad school, get my PhD and lead a team. Hopefully my military training and leadership skills will help when working with a team of people.”

Although his path was not conventional, he wouldn’t have had it every other manner.

“Sometimes I wonder if I would have gone straight to engineering school, which is where I am now,” Donovan mentioned. “But the diversity of knowledge and experience would not have been there. These opportunities give me a different perspective. I put things together. I was an operator. All of these skills will help me become a better engineer and researcher.”

Here he’s at present, taking coal from japanese Kentucky and turning it into carbon fiber and constructing batteries of the longer term. And all whereas serving his nation.

“You can’t help but be inspired by Dye,” mentioned Rodney Andrews, CAER director. “We are all proud of his commitment to his family, his community and our country. We are honored that CAER can play a part in his journey.”

***

The annual observance of Britain’s Veterans Day takes place on Friday eleventh November at 2pm. Organized by the Veterans Resource Center, the ceremony will happen on the Cornerstone Esports Theater. Doors open at 1:30pm. All UK school, employees and college students are invited to attend because the University pays tribute to the sacrifice and bravado of veterans inside the UK neighborhood. Lapel pins representing the navy branches are distributed and a reception is held after the ceremony. Read extra right here.

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