Thomas worked with the MnSGC’s High-Altitude Ballooning Team at the U of MN – Twin Cities in the spring and summer of 2018. His work had an emphasis on camera systems in a high-altitude environment, focusing on optimizing video quality, memory capabilities, battery life, and post-flight of various small cameras. Through his lab work, he became proficient in the handling and operation of GoPro Session, Lightdow LD4000, and Garmin VIRB 360 cameras and continues to explore methods to make footage more suitable to view in a VR format. Thomas has also performed research into the implementation of multi-layer insulation on the Alphasense particle detector, as part of the MURI research project. In addition, Thomas has helped with various other projects such as working with FreeWave radios, constructing an early iteration of the MURI active heating system, and participating in numerous MnSGC outreach events with pre-college students.
Thomas graduated from the University of Minnesota in the spring of 2021 with a major in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics and minors in Astrophysics and Computer Science. After his time with the ballooning lab, he was a research assistant for the University of Minnesota UAV (Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle) lab and gained internship experience with Progeny Systems Corporation in Virginia as well as with Collins Aerospace. Then he moved to St. Louis to work as an Airworthiness Engineer with Boeing.