Alumni Story

Dawson Schuck
Class of 2008
August – 2018

With a passion for aerospace and engineering, Dawson Schuck as a year 12 student at Doncaster Secondary College was one out of two young Australians selected to attend the annual Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar. Ten years on and Dawson has continued to pursue his passion for aviation, now working as a Flight Test Engineer for the Royal Australian Airforce. In doing so, he believes, “I’m lucky to have followed my interests, combined them with my strengths and found someone to pay me for it!” 

What was your favourite aspect of Doncaster Secondary College?
DSC was full of opportunity, both academically and in extra-curricular activities. With so much on offer, you could pursue your interests, seek continual challenge and broaden yourself with new experiences. It wasn’t just an academic curriculum; it was an environment fostering legitimate self-improvement.

Since finishing Year 12 what have you accomplished?
I joined the Air Force as an Aeronautical Engineering Officer, completing four years of military training and a degree, with a published thesis in experimental hypersonic. On the job, I have performed engineering design work on safety-critical aircraft systems, investigated incidents and managed teams of maintenance personnel. This job has allowed me to live and work in Madrid, Washington DC, Canberra, Sydney and now Adelaide, plus travel to numerous other places worldwide. In 2015 I was selected to become a Flight Test Engineer and train at the United States Naval Test Pilot School. Here, I completed a demanding 12-month course which combined academics, flying and report writing. I was fortunate to fly 17 different aircraft types including modern fighter jets, warbirds, helicopters and everything in between.

Tell us about what you are currently doing?
Working as a Flight Test Engineer to test the Air Force’s newest technology before it is released into service. Technology, especially in the military, is evolving at a rapid rate – I’m on a team that makes sure it’s both safe and effective before it needs to be used. Day-to-day, I am responsible for designing and planning tests, directing airborne test execution and writing technical reports. No day is ever the same and I’ve had the chance to work on many different projects.

Do you have any advice you would like to share with DSC students?
My advice would simply be to seize every opportunity. It’s easy to say ‘no’ because something’s outside of your comfort zone or because it sounds like hard work. Don’t be afraid to ask the question you’re nervous about asking, take someone up on their offer to have a coffee, or simply put your hand up for something new. There’s no such thing as being in the right place at the right time – getting to that place at that time is up to you!