Missouri University of Science and Technology alumnus Dr. Lynn Sebourn - a man always on the go
Release Number: 208206
Published December 30, 2008
Dr. Lynn Sebourn vividly recalls sitting in front of the TV when he was a child, watching the first lunar landing and Neil Armstrong taking those historic steps on the moon's surface.
"I was three years old; I re¬member how excited everybody was about it," said Dr. Sebourn, an Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA) facility systems analysis team engineer at Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) in middle Tennessee. ATA is the support contractor for AEDC.
Dr. Sebourn said that experi¬ence set the stage for his future.
"I've always been a science geek, even in the third grade, and by the time I was a freshman in high school I had picked a degree and a school," he said.
By the time he graduated from the Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly the University of Missouri-Rolla) with an aero¬space degree in 1989, the country was in a recession and engineer¬ing jobs were scarce.
"I kind of stumbled across University of Tennessee Space Institute by pure accident while I was looking for work," he recalled. "I thought that's reasonably close to Huntsville. And maybe if I work down there I can develop some job contacts in Huntsville and that's close to home."
Dr. Sebourn had heard about Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) during an interview for a position with the Air Force Ma¬teriel Command.
"I remembered vaguely that they had mentioned AEDC, but I didn't know anything about what it was," he recalled. "I hired in during the fall of 1992."
Dr. Sebourn acknowledged be¬ing impressed by Arnold shortly after joining the work force.
"I thought it was pretty amaz¬ing - big hardware everywhere, and I went to work for Barry Bishop in the facility analysis group," he said. "The very first job I worked on was the startup of J-6. That was my first job out of the chute. Except for arc-heaters and the gun range - about every¬thing else I think I've touched."
Dr. Sebourn has been involved with flow and facility analysis at Arnold for the past several years.
"I like that kind of work - we do modeling and simulation of facilities and how they operate and that's fun stuff," he said. "I have done some computational fluid dynamics (CFD) work in the past. My doctorate was in CFD, but this was more of a particular simulation in MATLAB - not really quite pure CFD, more of a math modeling."
When a friend recently asked what he likes most about working at AEDC, Dr. Sebourn smiled broadly and said, "They have lots of cool toys. One of the main rea¬sons I enjoy working here is be¬cause we have the freedom to do the job. I like working on ASTF [Aeropropulsion Systems Test Facility], we've done a lot of projects in the past few years including long-range planning."
Regarding the work he is do¬ing now, Dr. Sebourn said, "I am kind of back in the hands-on mode right now. CFD stuff is fun to play with, but after awhile you can begin to wonder, am I dealing in reality here?"
Dr. Sebourn said he is some¬one who has a lot of energy and can't resist taking on new chal¬lenges.
He has dabbled in local poli¬tics and was recently appointed to head up an economic develop¬ment committee for Tullahoma. Always an avid reader, especially of science fiction, he is focusing on a new subject matter.
"I'm reading a lot of business stuff right now - just because I'm trying to broaden my background a little bit," he said. "I'm plowing through that for the next couple of years. Maybe history will be next."
For the past 12 years, Dr. Sebourn has also been a volunteer with 'South Jackson Goes Coun¬try,' an annual entertainment and fund-raising event that began 29 years ago - started by Peggy Bur¬ton, the chairman of performing arts for the South Jackson Civic Center in Tullahoma.
"Lynn Sebourn is one of those multitalented people who can do a lot of things at the same time," she said. "He writes his own songs and performs them or he sings a cover song of other artists. He also helps to write commercials for the show - one of the most entertaining aspects of the show."
Regardless of what he is do¬ing at work or after hours, Dr. Sebourn's approach is the same.
"My philosophy is try to do a little better every day - to try and go out, have a good time and do a little better," he said. "I am generally an optimist."