Ella Fauson dreams of making air travel better for the environment

Senior Ella Fauson and her family took a camping trip out west in June of 2021. 

While most would expect to find themselves riddled with mosquito bites after a trip like this one, Ella found a passion for aerospace engineering while touring a company called Boeing.

“We happened to be able to visit Boeing headquarters,” Ella said. “I got to see a ton of planes and how they make them, how many people it takes to make them, how big they are, where the parts come from, and stuff like that. I thought it was really cool. [I thought] that was something I might want to do. Then, I started looking into aerospace engineering and what colleges had it.” 

Aerospace engineering is a branch of engineering that focuses on objects that are airborne like planes, rockets, etc. People in this field design, develop, and test aircrafts and related technology.

Airplanes eat up a lot of fuel, like unimaginable amounts of fuel.

— Ella Fauson

At the beginning of the school year, Ella still wasn’t sure if this was the major for her, but as the year moved on, she couldn’t stop thinking about touring the Boeing facilities. 

“I started to lean more towards engineering throughout the year,” Ella said. “I was like, ‘I think I’ll be better at this than just math because it’s more specific.’ Then, I just kept thinking about the Boeing tour, seeing all the planes and how cool I thought that [it was], and [I] was like, ‘Maybe I should major in this.’”

Boeing is a corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, rockets, missiles, satellites, etc. worldwide. Because of the company’s reputation in the engineering world—and the tour that jumpstarted Ella’s passion for engineering—she hopes to work there after college to not only get experience, but she also has plans to change the way planes affect our environment. 

“I want to start engineering planes that don’t use as much fuel as they do now,” Ella said. “[I want] to make air travel greener—which isn’t being done a lot because of how hard it is. But, I want to start making plans that’ll be more sustainable. Airplanes eat up a lot of fuel, like unimaginable amounts of fuel; it releases a lot of carbon dioxide into the environment, which is definitely not helping [our environment] considering how many trees are being cut down every day. I want to be able to make air travel sustainable because it’s a really easy way to travel. We don’t wanna have to shut it down because our environment is so bad, but it would be easier on the environment and on climate change if planes were greener.”

In the fall, Ella’s going to be attending the University of Alabama to study Aerospace Engineering, and she’ll be receiving a liberal studies major through the Blount Scholars program.

“I chose the university because I visited it,” Ella said, “and it was really, really nice. They have a specific Aerospace Engineering program, and it wouldn’t just be mechanical engineering with a concentration in aerospace. It is an actual program there. They offered [to] pay my full tuition, so [it’s a] lot cheaper to go there than in-state; I have to pay to live there, but they’re paying for me to get my degree.”