26 October 2023

Eight students from Washington State University (WSU) have landed at LiU. They are the first intakes in the new four-way collaboration between LiU, WSU and aircraft manufacturers Saab and Boeing. 

Three people around a sumulator.
Arlo Jones, John Bussey and Emma Johnson are some of the exchange students from Washington State University, the first in the new four-way collaboration which also includes LiU and aircraft manufacturers Saab and Boeing. Anna Nilsen

“A very nice opportunity to see and learn up close from great collaborations while also getting the chance to study abroad,” says John Bussey.

He, Emma Johnson and Arlo Jones are walking around the Swedish Air Force Museum in Malmslätt, near Linköping, during a free afternoon. The three WSU students are a couple of months into their exchange semester at LiU.

Designing computational models

The trio is part of the new collaboration, where the two universities are working with aircraft manufacturers Saab and Boeing. The focus of the collaboration is on the computer-based design philosophy behind the development of the new T-7A Red Hawk trainer aircraft. Two persons is laughing. Emma Johnson and Arlo Jones. Photo credit Anna Nilsen

"We are working with different ways of designing computational models, and using a variety of numerical analysis techniques to ensure that the results we get from the computers are accurate and physically relevant,"says Arlo Jones.

John Bussey tries to put this new and innovative collaboration between industry and the academic world into a larger context.

“What we’re doing this semester is of course just a tiny, tiny part. But, in a larger perspective, this can hopefully help to design aircraft with better accuracy and better performance in the future,” he says.

Attracts thousands of students

Swedish Saab and American Boeing have long-standing ties as strategic partners to LiU and WSU respectively. The presence of Saab is noticed, seen and heard clearly in and around Linköping, and the same is true for Boeing in the north-west of the USA.

“The name is everywhere, it’s close and natural to you when you grow up. It’s the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer and thousands of WSU students have gone on to work at Boeing after their studies. I imagine it’s similar to the relation between LiU and Saab,” says John Bussey. A person in a simulatorJohn Bussey. Photo credit Anna Nilsen

Emma Johnson and Arlo Jones study computer science, while John Bussey’s main subjects are materials science and technology. The three of them, along with four others, are the first WSU students to take an exchange semester at LiU. And they are very pleased with their experience so far.

"I get the chance to study what I’m most interested in, be part of the research group, and also get insight into how the work we do is relevant to industry. It's a fantastic mix,” says Arlo Jones.

“It feels very exciting to get that opportunity, and I’m very happy that I applied and got a place,” says Emma Johnson.

John Bussey shares Arlo and Emma’s feelings.

“Everyone has been very encouraging, and in the field of computational mathematics, which we are involved in, it feels like a lot is happening and there are many different things to work with in the future”.

Knitting, climbing and Saturday coffee

In addition to their studies, they have had time to get a taste of what it is like to be a LiU student. The trio praises student life and accommodation in the Ryd district. There are cooking evenings, climbing and Saturday coffee meetings. And a lot of knitting.

“Thursday evenings have become knitting nights in our home. My wife, who has also come to Linköping, and several other exchange students like to knit,” says Arlo Jones.

There are about 7,000 kilometres between Linköping and everyday life at home in Washington State. Of course, there is a lot which is different. But not too much.

“There’s a lot that’s similar. When I was on campus the other day, I felt like I was at home, until I heard that people were talking Swedish around me,” says Emma Johnson.

A person in a simulator. Photo credit Anna Nilsen

More about the collaboration

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