After graduating from Page High in 1997, Cosby earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a Master of Engineering in Mechanics of Materials from UCLA. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Michelle, and together they have two daughters.
What led you to want to pursue a career in aerospace engineering?
As a kid I was always fascinated with airplanes and space. In school, I did well in the physical sciences, physics in particular. During my senior year, my physics teacher was trying to subtly push me in that direction – I guess I took the hint.
What all does your job entail?
As a structural analysis engineer, I take aircraft performance, functionality and safety requirements and determine the most structurally efficient way to meet those criteria. This is done by taking material strength criteria and performing mathematical analysis on each part to predict when failure of the structure will occur. I am currently heavily involved in testing – monitoring and evaluating flight test data and writing test requirements – as well as the FAA certification effort of my current program, the Bell 525 Relentless.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Turning ideas into tangible things. I’ve had the opportunity to work on a variety of platforms: the Bell-Boeing V-22, Boeing 787, Gulfstream V and now the Bell 525 Relentless. The 525 is currently in flight test, and being able to go into the hanger between tests and physically interact with an incredible piece of machinery that you were an integral part of bringing about is extremely exciting.
What did you enjoy most about your high school experience?
High school was truly eye-opening. Having moved from Ventura, California, just prior to starting my freshman year and being dropped into a rural high school was quite the change. The plan was to start at Franklin High (when there were only two high schools around Franklin) but we were temporarily living in an area zoned for Page. I wouldn’t change the experiences I had there, including meeting my wife, for the world.
What WCS teacher made a difference in your life and how?
I would say John Paquet made the biggest difference in where I ended up after high school, though Fred Barlow played a large role as well. Prior to being in Mr. Paquet’s chemistry and physics classes I would classify myself as an average student, at best. Those two classes re-ignited an interest in learning and really got me thinking that I could do something like this for the rest of my life. Mr. Barlow really went out of his way to challenge me to get better in music beyond what we were doing in class – enough so that I was part of the Mid-State honor band on two occasions.
Do you have any advice for current WCS students?
Be enthusiastic about what you are doing. Whether it is a class at school or a job that you really don’t like, if you give it all you’ve got and have a positive attitude, not only will achieve a better outcome but you will also have more fun doing it.