Member of the Month - May 2019
Meet May's ASNE Member of the Month - Alex Laun! Read on to learn a bit more about Alex in his interview with Membership Manager Michelle.
Michelle: What got you into Naval Engineering? (What specific event or moment).
Alex: I've been passionate about naval engineering since my first days as an undergraduate student (midshipman) at the United States Naval Academy. The facilities at the Naval Academy are absolutely incredible, including both a 120-foot towing-tank and a 380-foot towing-tank, and the opportunity to pursue hands-on engineering inspired me to study naval architecture. I continued my study of naval engineering in graduate school, and many of the lessons learned from my formal education carried over to my active-duty time in the Submarine Force. I'm actually back at the Naval Academy right now, serving as an instructor in the Naval Architecture & Ocean Engineering Department, so it's pretty amazing to work with some of my former professors and mentors. Every day, I'm reminded why naval engineering is so awesome: I get to design systems that actually work/float, I get to operate some incredible experimental equipment, and I work with the most talented and creative engineers in the world!
Michelle: What is a fun fact most people don't know about you?
Alex:I love to cook (when I'm not being too lazy)! There's something incredible about following a written recipe, maybe even one that's been passed down for generations, and creating a meal that can inspire a sense of community and happiness.
Michelle: What is one engineer/scientist/ or mathematician dead or alive would you like to meet?
Alex: I would like to meet Isaac Asimov. Even though Asimov was formally a biochemist, many of his fictional works address complex engineering systems and approaches. He's one of the few authors who tackled some of the complex moral and ethical dilemmas associated with the development/integration of advanced technology, and this is a perspective that every professional engineer really needs to consider.
Michelle: If you could engineer your perfect concession stand/food truck, what would it be?
Alex: I would definitely engineer the world's best cupcake food truck. Unfortunately, Annapolis has a severe shortage of amazing cupcakes, especially late at night, so this food truck would help with some of those cravings.
Michelle: Why are you a member of ASNE?
Alex: My interest in ASNE started by reading old copies of the Naval Engineers Journal as a midshipman. In graduate school, and later on in my professional career, ASNE evolved as a means to attend amazing conferences and develop a tremendous professional network. Today, I'm an ASNE member to stay well-informed about technical developments within the professional maritime community.
Michelle: What does "Naval Engineering" mean to you?
Alex:To me, naval engineering is an incredibly diverse, multi-disciplinary, and exciting field! This field is more than ships and submarines, though. Naval engineering is equally as much about how humans have leveraged logic and technical acumen to operate in the toughest environment in existence: our oceans. As I tell my students, this is a hands-on profession: you will design something, you will build a prototype, and it may even fail, but you will always learn something interesting from both your successes and failures. Naval engineering is about life-long learning, developing safe/reliable technology, and (occasionally) developing a few revolutionary system designs. From studying naval architecture in the classroom, to operating a nuclear-powered submarine, to designing/fabricating autonomous sailboats, my naval engineering experiences have always been very interesting!