Distinguished Graduates 2015: Daniel Getsinger earns honors in aerospace engineering


graphic by Jeweliana Hendrickson

by Katherine Montgomery, Reporter

The short URL of the present article is: https://lhslance.org/axr2b

Daniel Robinson Getsinger is an accomplished aerospace engineer who graduated from Linganore High School in 2003 and earned a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from UCLA in 2012. He will receive the Distinguished Graduate award in the Sciences on November 24, 2015. Currently, he works as a mechanical engineer for General Electric in Albany, New York.

When he was in high school, Getsinger was most interested in the academic core,  math, science, English and history classes. Getsinger also had a strong interest in creative writing. High school was the beginning of his appreciation for the “beauty of mathematics in describing the fundamental laws of nature.”

Some of the classes that he remembers enjoying were calculus with Mrs. Kimberly Gilbert, physics with Mr. Chris Hahn, English with Ms. MaryEllen Newcomb, computer science with Mr. Bill Crum, and history with Mr. Tony Miller.

He says, “They were memorable for their thoroughness, energetic and well-prepared teaching, and usefulness later on in my career.”

In addition to having an interest in the majority of his academics, his other hobbies included fishing, playing Dreamcast/Playstation 2, shooting pool, and reading. In his junior and senior years of soccer he was on the varsity soccer team. Sadly during his senior year, the team had a defeated season (lost every game).

As an incoming freshman to UMD, Getsinger still had no idea what he wanted to major in. He knew his strong suits were math and science, so engineering looked like a good choice, but he wasn’t set on it. Getsinger couldn’t decide on what to study, journalism or engineering. He found most of his peers had a similar problem. As a result, Getsinger took a lot of the basic classes his first year, and then in his second year he found he loved physics.

“There was a definite ‘wow’ factor for me associated with aircraft and spacecraft propulsion. Who doesn’t love watching a jet engine spool up or a rocket separate from the launch stand? Back then, though, I didn’t fully understand what the job of an aero engineer would be like on a day-to-day basis.”

It took some internships and some real life experience for him to figure out that being an engineer was the right career choice for him. With engineering, he was able to be passionate about what he was doing and he could benefit society.

For graduate school, Getsinger went to UCLA. As a post doc candidate, he taught an undergraduate class at UCLA about Fluid Mechanics. He says this was one of the most memorable academic experiences he’s had. An important lesson he has learned is showing up for class is an important part of success.

“…The biggest realization during the transition to college and the working world – the need to push myself continuously rather than only grow when forced externally by some deadline or urgent situation,” said Getsinger.

Now, Getsinger is a member of the APS (American Physical Society) of Fluid Dynamics which he joined as a graduate student in order to attend their annual conferences. He also balances his work life with his time for hobbies such as going to the gym or running. He likes to read and experiment in the kitchen as much as possible. In his leisure time, he likes to take trips to go hiking in the Adirondacks or Catskills or take other road trips in the Northeast.

Hahn, Getsinger’s physics teacher in 2003, takes a picture of each class he teaches. The class makes and signs a poster and they take a group photo. Mr. Hahn puts the picture on the poster and hangs the poster on the wall in his room.

Daniel Getsinger (far right) is photographed with his 2003 physics class.
courtesy of Chris Hahn
Daniel Getsinger (far right) is photographed with his 2003 physics class.