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Math grad soars toward his dream with Red Bull Air Racing

Tim Poe | Applied Mathematics | alumnus | Department of Mathematical Sciences Tim Poe has stuck with his dream since he was 3 years old and watched a space shuttle launch on TV.

By: Dustin Ryder


With a bachelor’s degree in applied math and mechanical engineering under his belt, Poe is ensuring he meets all the requirements to become an astronaut. Poe will obtain a master’s degree in mechanical engineering May 2019, his focus on thermal fluid sciences.

Propelling to success

Two years ago, Poe found himself at Red Bull Air Racing. A year later, he purchased a pit pass with an interest in learning more about the teams. His mission was simple, ask about opportunities and any advice that would allow him to join a team.  Poe contacted Rob Fry in regards to Yoshihide Muroya’s team. They were impressed with his background in thermal fluids, modeling and 3-D printing.

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Poe at the Red Bull Air Race.

Fry’s interest and Poe’s persistency led to a successful job at Red Bull Air Racing. Poe’s official title for Muroya’s racing teaming is volunteer engineer. Modeling and creating mock-up design work are a few examples of what his job consists of. Bug washer was another role, but Poe was still grateful for the opportunity.

“I can’t tell you how many bugs I washed off the airplane,” Poe said. “I just enjoy being there and being part of the team and if I have to wash bugs off the plane, I’ll do it. It was a learning experience.”

Aiding aspirations

When Poe first started his education, math and engineering weren’t offered as dual-degrees. With the help of Jeffrey X. Watt, Ph.D., he was able to arrange his schedule to fit his aspirations. The math courses supplemented the engineering courses well, helping him understand modeling portions more in-depth. The two still work closely together, Watt providing a reference letter as Poe moved on to graduate school. Carlos Larriba-Andaluz, Ph.D., has proved pivotal to Poe’s engineering master’s degree.

Poe has taken advantage of every opportunity to build his resume; whether it be part-time adjunct for math, research in biomedical, Meggitt, or Red Bull Racing. Staying open-minded and getting involved is his advice for students at IUPUI.