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18 months at Stanford for Paul

Published on

1 Mar 2021

A year ago, Paul returned from an 18-month stay in the USA where he had gone in 2018 to complete an MSc in Aeronautics & Astronautics at Stanford University.

We look back at his diploma course!


Paul: My study project was to gain expertise in autonomous aerospace systems, learn about American culture, and develop entrepreneurial and scientific skills. Stanford is one of the most renowned universities for innovation, so I wanted to get a Master of Science in Aeronautics & Astronautics while training in systems control and entrepreneurship. Culturally, the United States being a cosmopolitan country, my goal was to meet and exchange with a wide variety of people.

Stanford brings together thousands of top people in their fields; I learned from every discussion. In addition to my studies, I was fortunate enough to be part of the Fulbright Program, a scholarship system jointly funded by the U.S. State Department and the French government. I have participated in many Fulbright student meetings focused on the idea of understanding between peoples through academic exchange with always in mind the idea of representing France.


This stay allowed me to better understand the American industrial fabric as well as the startup environment. I met many business leaders, entrepreneurs and scientists. Academically, I completed my project by taking courses from the aerospace department but also from the computer science, mathematical engineering, management and business departments. I was also able to attend JuliaCon in Baltimore last summer: Julia is a new programming language (James-Wilkinson award 2019). I have used this language in my work and some of my projects.

This academic life was made concrete professionally through my role as developer and RC pilot of a drone project and also during my internship at Zipline International, an aeronautics unicorn in San Francisco. Zipline operates the world’s largest network of drones and saves lives by delivering blood and medical supplies in Rwanda and Ghana. After my internship I joined the team permanently.

I will also remember being a Teaching Assistant twice in the Physics Department and then in the Mathematical Engineering Department; I enjoyed working as a faculty member immensely. I really enjoyed taking my students to a higher level.

All in all, this trip made me grow enormously and gain perspective on my own society by understanding another culture. I made sure to have as many experiences as possible which also allowed me to develop my interpersonal and management skills. In the longer term, I want to pursue my dream of becoming a spaceman. In the meantime, I am thrilled to be working with Zipline, whose humanitarian focus allows me to make a positive impact.

The testimony of Paul Planeix

Thank you!

I would like to thank the ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation and the donors who have enabled me to carry out my project. This assistance has been decisive and allows students to carry out ambitious study projects opening interesting professional perspectives