Serving Through the Summer

By Karissa Uhlig

Summertime is known for its fun activities. Swimming, spending time at the beach, camping—these are all activities that many people enjoy during the summer. Many people take vacations or just relax for a well-deserved rest. While doing so is great, another way that someone can put his or her summer to good use is by serving. Vasha Sedlacek, who was the summer intern in the aviation research and development program at JAARS, is a wonderful example of this. She wanted to combine fun and serving this summer, which prompted her to accept a volunteer internship in the aviation research and development department here at JAARS.

Vasha is a senior mechanical engineering student at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan; she was looking for a summer internship to develop skills needed for her degree and future occupation. She came across a Wycliffe job posting online for someone skilled in aviation research and development. When she contacted a Wycliffe recruiter and explained her need for an internship, the recruiter connected her to JAARS. 

Vasha enjoys a helicopter ride.

The research and development department is in charge of several engineering projects. They primarily develop well-designed equipment for aircraft on the mission field. Terry Heffield, who is the aviation Research and Development manager as well as Vasha’s supervisor, and his team designed crew and rear seats that would be used in Cessna 206 and Helio aircraft. 

Vasha enjoyed the new things she learned every day. According to Vasha, “nothing can replace [the] hands-on experience” that she gained here at JAARS, though she has learned a lot at college. She completed multiple projects for the Research and Development department, including configuring the department’s laser engraver and printer, generating complete engineering drawings for the Cessna 206 seats, machining and cutting sheet metal parts with the CNC router, and engineering 3D printed parts for helicopter blade tie-downs.

Terry loves how Vasha completed her projects with excellence, accuracy, and in a timely manner. She has been a great asset to the department; Terry’s learned as much from her as she has from him. “What I’ve found is interns are very capable, and they’ve got a lot of good ideas. They have new perspectives from things they’ve learned at school.”

Vasha has a passion for engineering. In looking for an internship, Vasha said,

“I was really looking for [an internship in which] I could use [everything] I’m studying in school [to help with] something I believed in.” She has been blessed to make an eternal impact by supporting Bible translators and missionary pilots through her work at JAARS. 

Julie and Bruce Powell and Vasha were part of the team from aviation who served at JAARS Serve Day.

See how you can make an eternal impact by serving at JAARS!