Aerospace Engineering senior Chris Forchhammer has won the department’s Isaac, Vera, Gayle, Karen, and Carol Bagley Scholarship. Established by alumna Karen Ann Bagley Albrecht (BSE Aero 1972) as an endowed scholarship, the award recognizes outstanding Aerospace Engineering students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Recipients receive $2,800.
Before enrolling at the University of Michigan, Forchhammer served in the United States Marine Corps as an airframe mechanic on the F/A-18D fighter jet. He and his unit deployed twice to East and Southeast Asia. He left active duty in 2018 with the rank of sergeant.
As he began his freshman year, Forchhammer said, he worried about keeping up with his slightly younger peers in the classroom after being away from school for five years. However, he discovered that his classmates have played a key role in his success.
“Just as in the Marines, a strong team is more powerful than any individual can ever be, so I always gravitated towards group study environments where we could master course content by teaching each other,” Forchhammer said. “I am incredibly grateful to my peers for helping me succeed and prove to myself that I do belong here.”
One enduring team experience occurred sophomore year in the AERO 205 Introduction to Aerospace Engineering Systems course, where Forchhammer and his teammates designed and built a hovercraft for a course-wide competition.
“Our hovercraft ended up working phenomenally and set a new all-time record in the competition,” he said.
When he graduates in May 2022, Forchhammer looks forward to earning an Aerospce Engineering master’s degree with a focus on aerodynamics and propulsion so he can launch a career working on spacecraft rocket engines. He also hopes to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming an astronaut and will apply to NASA’s Astronaut Candidate program.
In his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar and competing in U-M intramural flag football.