Engineering In Action

On Target

An undergraduate discovers the unanticipated benefits of being a riflewoman.

Video and photo by Lillie Paquette; Written by Carolyn Blais

With hundreds of clubs and teams to join at MIT, students with varied interests will find that there is no shortage of activities to take part in on campus. Kelly Mathesius, a senior aerospace engineering major, is a prime example of a busy student whose involvement on campus really runs the gamut. When not in class or studying, Mathesius divides her time working on the rocket team, serving as captain of the riffle team, and solving a favorite retro puzzle as the co-founder of the Rubik’s Cube Club.

For Mathesius, riffle team has provided a stress-free respite to her day. “I think something about shooting is very, very tranquil and very relaxing, because for two seconds before you take that shot you kind of just stop thinking about all the problem sets and the projects and the drama happening around,” she explains. “Just focusing on making sure you’re breathing right, taking that shot, and making it go exactly where it needs to go.”

As it turns out, many of the skill sets needed for riffle team coincide with those needed for the rocket team. Whether focusing on a target or pointing an antenna at a rocket, precision and a steady set of hands are a must. Mathesius says the practical skills she’s honed in riffle team have benefited her as an engineer, especially when it comes to building successful rockets and engines.



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