ICYMI: Student News

Boilermakers earn prestigious fellowships and grants


ICYMI: Student News

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Two graduate students in AAE were selected for the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Derrick Charley and Ann Marie Karis received the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind.

The five-year fellowship period provides three years of financial support, including an annual stipend of $34,000 and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for tuition and fees. The fellowship also provides access to opportunities for professional development.

The GRFP will support the research Karis is doing as part of her graduate research assistantship, a collaborative project that spans several institutions. The Virtual Super-Resolution Optics with Reconfigurable Swarms mission is composed of two CubeSats flying in a configuration with 40 meters between them. The goal of the mission is to investigate energy-release sites in the solar corona by producing images. Karis, whose advisor is Professor Alina Alexeenko, has been modeling CubeSat plume interactions and aerodynamic drag using the Direct Simulation Monte Carlo code, SPARTA.

Full-length story can be found on AAE’s website.

Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship

Kenza Boudad, Suman Chakraborty and Saikiran Gopalakrishnan were awarded the Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship. Each recipient received a base salary of $20,000, a supplemental scholarship of $10,000 and a graduate tuition remission for up to two semesters and one summer session.

Boudad, whose advisor is Kathleen Howell, the Hsu Lo Distinguished Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, focuses on the development of a framework for trajectory design between the lunar region, where the upcoming NASA's Gateway is planned to be located, and heliocentric space, which includes destinations such as Sun-Earth orbits, various asteroids, and Mars. Boudad's research leverages the Bicircular Restricted Four-Body Problem, a multibody dynamical model that considers the gravitational influences of the Earth, the moon and the sun. Using this framework, researchers are able to compute end-to-end transfers between Gateway's orbit and various heliocentric destinations.

Suman Chakraborty's research deals with the study of high-pressure combustion systems and phase behavior. Chakraborty, in Professor Li Qiao's research group, has used Molecular Dynamics (MD) as a tool to study fluid behavior under extremely high pressure and temperature conditions, phase change dynamics and the effect of multicomponent system composition on the transition behavior from sub-to-supercritical regime. He also has used data-driven learning methods to predict the vapor-liquid equilibrium behavior of binary systems like n-alkane/nitrogen.

Gopalakrishnan's research is broadly focused on developing and demonstrating a comprehensive framework — model-based feature information network or MFIN — to leverage the use of next generation digital twin technology, which is crucial for efficiently designing and manufacturing mission critical aerospace components in the future. The introduction of the MFIN framework facilitates access to dynamically evolving lifecycle data applicable to a component or a product for use within physics-based predictive models, thereby improving the precision in downstream engineering analysis and enabling more informed decision making. His advisor is Michael Sangid, the Elmer F. Bruhn Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Patti Grace Smith Fellowship

Zion Moss was among 43 Black undergraduates selected for the inaugural fellowship, created in 2020 to "combat the longstanding and well-quantified under-representation of Black and African-American employees in the U.S. aerospace workforce." The first fellowship class consisted of first- or second-year students in bachelor's or associate's degree programs across the country.

Moss secured his first aerospace internship with the fellowship, a 12-week paid gig with SpaceX. He also was paired with two mentors in the industry and received a cash grant toward professional or school expenses.

Full-length story can be found on AAE’s website.

Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship

Maor Gozalzani was one of 30 students chosen in the fellowship program's Class of 2021. Since the fellowship's inception in 2018, Gozalzani is the fourth AAE student selected for the program that provides college juniors, seniors and graduate students with a paid summer internship and mentor at commercial spaceflight companies.

He had a 12-week internship at Virgin Orbit and was paired with an industry mentor.

Full-length story can be found on AAE’s website.

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