Summertime Standouts: Charlotte Cerveny

Charlotte Cerveny in Normandy
Charlotte Cerveny, front row, third from the right, with classmates in Normandy.

A summer journey to Normandy was the perfect choice to feed Charlotte Cerveny’s passions for history and engineering. Cerveny, a dual major in history and mechanical engineering, spent 10 days at the end of May exploring Normandy, France, and the history of World War II.

The trip was part of a history course exploring the war’s Normandy campaign. Each student in the class chose a particular topic to explore in depth, and Cerveny researched the German bunkers that formed the defensive Atlantic Wall.

While on site in Pointe du Hoc, France, she used what she learned to give a short presentation featuring her engineering and historical research. She used a textbook from her engineering materials class to examine what the wall was made of, and used her knowledge of the war to inform her presentation.

“It was really fun to use my knowledge from both disciplines to do the research,” said Cerveny. “The historical context of the war affected my research, because I had to figure out why the Wall was neither fully staffed nor fully built.”

Engineering and history not only were a part of her research; her interests combined in unexpected ways while on the trip. On a museum tour in Sainte-Mère-Église, France, she stopped to look under the hood of a World War II-era Jeep and found a four-bar suspension.

“I took the Dynamics of Machines course last summer, and we had talked about four-bar mechanisms. Old cars had used them as suspension, but I hadn’t seen them in person,” said Cerveny. “It was really fun to see that!”

Influenced by her grandfather, a Coast Guard helicopter pilot, Cerveny was fascinated from an early age with how planes functioned. She came to CSU to pursue mechanical engineering, in the hopes to use her degree in the future to work for Boeing. She expects to return to school after her time at Boeing, to earn a commercial pilot’s license on a path to becoming an airline pilot.