Michenell Louis-Charles can’t remember a time when he wasn’t interested in planes. The ins/outs of the engine, how they take off, the science behind the flight. The FAMU-FSU mechanical engineering student is a senior, currently studying thermal fluids at the Florida Center for Advanced Aero-Propulsion (FCAAP).
“I am studying the development of asymmetrical vortices on a slender body,” Louis-Charles said. “It’s related to phantom yaw. That’s where random forces act on the body of a plane or missile, making it go off course. The goal is to make these safer to fly. Especially, in regards to aircraft carrier flights because they have such short runways, there is no room for error.”
Louis-Charles also has a double life. On the engineering campus, he’s is a student. However, when he goes to the FAMU campus, Louis-Charles is larger than life persona as the drum major for FAMU’s famous Marching 100. Everybody knows him, and it’s quite an honor. He is a commander on the field and the right hand of the band director. He leads rehearsals on the field, starting and stopping the band. Off the field Louis-Charles is an ambassador for the iconic Marching 100 and FAMU at large.
“I sometimes feel like Batman or Superman,” Louis-Charles grinned. “One of the biggest challenges is managing time. I have my band life and my engineering life. It’s a balance but I love it.”
Louis-Charles began his musical career as a saxophonist and plans to incorporate music into his life’s plan.
“After my undergraduate studies are complete, I am planning on getting my masters and going into aeronautics, working at Boeing if I can,” Louis Charles said. “I want to keep playing the saxophone, getting gigs and after I retire, maybe opening a jazz bar.”
The talented musician loves to give back to the community and is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) as well as Jazz Band and the Harmonic Miner’s Men’s Club. He has been named the most outstanding bandsman of the year since his junior year in high school. The award is given by the band director and is a high honor based on merit and achievement.
As a member of the Marching 100, Louis-Charles has had the opportunity to travel with the band to many prestigious venues like the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Marching 100 itself is world renowned and throughout its history has been invited to play everywhere from Paris to the Super Bowl.
The multitalented student has some advice for students interested in engineering: only go into the field if you love it. If you don’t love it, stop. But if you never lose the passion, never let yourself quit.
“If you never quit, you never fail.” Louis-Charles said. “That’s a quote from J.Cole. He’s my favorite rapper. There are times when you are going to fail but you have to just get back up, keep pushing and go forward.”