Master's Profile: Meghan Booze

  • Meghan Booze
    Current Position: F-15E Instructor Pilot and Assistant Director of Operations for Innovation, US Air Force
  • Duke MEMS Path: Master of Science (MS), Mechanical Engineering
  • Advisors: Kenneth Hall and Missy Cummings

Why did you choose Duke and your area of study?

I chose mechanical engineering to continue my undergraduate field of study and further my career as a fighter pilot.

Tell us about your Duke experience.

My Duke experience was extremely unique because I was both a master's student and active duty Air Force F-15E Pilot simultaneously. I flew the entire time as an instructor pilot at Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro, N.C. and commuted one day each week to attend class.

In order to attend the class I was not able to physically be in, I would either record the class, review the notes or meet with my professor to catch up. Both fellow students and professors were supportive and extremely helpful to make this work.

What was your project?

My project was "Optimization of Manning on an Aircraft Carrier."

I chose this project based on my flying background, even though I am in the Air Force and aircraft carriers are unique to the Navy. I really resonated with the importance of finding a smart way to man aircraft carriers to maximize safety, as well as to minimize launch times for real-world operations. Those operations are what save soldiers’ lives in deployed locations every day. 

What impact has your Duke master's degree had on your career?

My degree has taught me to think in a quite different way about my Air Force career, on both a day-to-day tactical level and at an overarching strategic level. I’m currently utilizing it now from an innovation standpoint and intend to continue to do so when I leave the military.

What advice would you give to prospective Duke applicants?

Duke allows you to choose from dozens of classes to create a curriculum specific to your thesis or interests.

At first it was a little overwhelming, but I quickly learned how the freedom to tailor each semester to my specific needs only bettered my education.