To some people, an airplane symbolizes getting away, maybe even escape, but Miles Petersen has a different perspective.

“I think flying is pretty incredible. Seeing a plane flying above me is just magical,” he said. But he doesn’t imagine getting away from it all. “Planes play a positive role in today’s world,” he said. “They connect people. They bring families together.”

Petersen expects to graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the McKelvey School of Engineering and — no surprises here — a minor in aerospace engineering.

For Petersen, planes connect him to fellow aerospace enthusiasts; they connect his life in St. Louis to his friends and family back in his native Delaware; and planes connect his past to his future, a future working at aerospace giant Boeing Co. in Seattle.

Petersen cannot recall a time when he wasn’t crazy about planes. “I’ve always loved the window seat,” he said. In high school, he asked for an aerospace engineering textbook for his birthday — a book he still has within arm’s reach.

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