June 4, 2012

Michigan's Yealy Taking Talents to Real World

by Matt Forman | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Trevor Yealy enjouyed being part of "Team One" at Michigan and will indulge a "childish fantasy" with airplanes as a career.
© Clark Bell/Michigan 

A three-time MCLA first-team All-American who scored 266 points in his club career, Trevor Yealy returned to Ann Arbor for a fifth season to be a member of Michigan's first varsity Division I team and complete his degree in aerospace engineering with a minor in mathematics.

When did your love of flight first develop?

I was really young. When my mom was in the military, we lived in Fort Hood, Killeen, Texas. My family says I would sit in our living room that had big glass-panel windows that overlooked the airport, and I would watch airplanes all day and all night. Just watch them go by. That was lost a bit in the transition when my family moved back to Pittsburgh, doing other stuff as a kid growing up. But it kind of re-emerged in eighth grade. We had a career day where a bunch of people came in to speak. I never really thought about it before, but I sat in on a pilot's speech then and thought it was really cool. From there, I started taking flying lessons freshman year of high school. It's like a bug. You can't get rid of it. Once I had that first taste, all bets were off. It was what I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I always had the most childish fascination with airplanes, so I knew pretty early what I wanted to study was aerospace engineering.

How did you get your pilot's license?

The summer of 2008 between freshman and sophomore year I finished my private pilot's license. There's a whole gaggle and handful of licenses and ratings to get, and I'm still working them. My next goal is to get my instrument rating, which allows you to fly in bad or inclement weather conditions. They teach you to fly the airplane without looking outside the airplane, based solely on your instruments. Flying in clouds, there's no horizon, no reference. So you learn to fly the airplane like that. Down the road I would like to get my commercial license, and I would like to get my multi-engine licenses. At some point I would like to own a plane too. But that's way down the road.

What does aerospace engineering entail?

At its most raw form, aero is incredibly detailed and in-depth. Engineering, obviously, is like that, but I had no idea how much research and development there was being done in aerospace itself. You hear about NASA, you hear about the airlines and the big manufacturers, but you don't often hear about the research and development of what's next for aerospace. That was the most eye-opening thing for me. Not that there was no aerospace before the 1900s, but it was limited. To come as far as we have in 100 years from when we first had powered flight in the early 1900s, it's incredible. To see where it's going to go, as far as space, supersonic flight and all kinds of new-age aircraft and systems, it's pretty interesting. I'm still blown away by the intense math and raw physics that goes into aero.

What would you like to do with your aero degree? Build them? Fly them?

It's funny how that's evolved over the years. I've always enjoyed accident investigation — it's a morbid topic, but accidents interest me, but especially how to make airplanes safer — and that's what I thought I wanted to do a couple years ago. But that's not where I'm headed. I'm actually going to be neither flying nor building after school. I'll be working for Boeing, and I'll be in supply-chain management. It's a dream job at a dream company.

How did that come about?

One of the fathers of a player on our team was very helpful and instrumental in getting me in touch with the right people at Boeing, and they were able to pass my resume along. I always applied for their internships and hadn't had much success. They can get anybody that they want. So knowing the right people really helped get me the job, and I'm really thankful for that. It was a huge blessing. I accepted the offer in February.

What has it been like being a member of Michigan's first varsity lacrosse team?

It's been an unbelievable experience and an incredible ride. It's been a really rewarding privilege to be on "Team One," as coach John Paul calls it. Regardless of how 2012 shakes out [Michigan finished 1-13], I'm very proud to have been a part of this team. I'm proud to have been a part of what came before it. And I'm going to be proud of what's to come in the future. It's an exciting time for Michigan lacrosse.

A version of this article appears in the June issue of Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 400,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

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