Skip navigation

Our People

Principal Investigator

Karen Marais
Associate Head/Professor
ARMS 2041

Dr. Karen Marais' research focuses on developing ways to deliver value through reliability, safety, and sustainability. She is the author or co-author of several technical publications, including 24 journal papers, two reports for the National Academies, and two book chapters. She received an NSF CAREER award in 2014. Dr. Karen Marais has worked in engineering for two decades. Dr. Marais holds a B. Eng. in electrical and electronic engineering from the University of Stellenbosch and a mathematics from the University of South Africa. She also holds a master's degree in space-based radar from MIT. She received her Ph.D.from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT in 2005. Prior to graduate school, she worked in South Africa as an electronic engineer.

Google Scholar Profile

Graduate Students

Ali Alkhaleefah
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Ali is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. He received his M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University. Prior to that, Ali held different roles with the National Satellite Technology Center, starting as a Thermal Engineer and then Satellite Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) Engineer. He also worked as a Research Associate with the Center of Excellence for Aeronautics and Astronautics. Ali's research focuses on the Safety Design of Spaceports. In his free time, Ali likes to play tennis and watch NBA games.
Takaharu Igarashi
Summer Graduate Research Assistant
Takaharu is a PhD candidate in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. He received his Bachelor and Master of Engineering in Architecture from the University of Tokyo in 2017 and 2019, respectively. He is majoring in Aerospace Sytems and his research focuses on establishing planning and design framework that can ensure system safety of construction in space. Takaharu's lifelong passion is contributing to the realization of architecture and human presence in space. He enjoys spending his free time watching TV shows and movies, playng tennis and basketball, cycling, surfing, skiing and snowboarding.

Takaharu in the news:

Wall Street Journal (Dec 2020): How to Build a Home on the Moon

INCOSE (July 2022): Best Student Paper Award
More about the award

Purdue Make Your Story Podcast (Oct 2022): Season 2 Episode 1

The Lunar Dispatch (by Will Dowd, Aug 2023): Super Blue Moon
Rashi Jain
Graduate Research Assistant
Rashi is a Ph.D. student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. At Purdue, her research is under the Resilient Extra-Terrestrial Habitat Institute (RETHi) with a focus on the development and validation of a resilience power framework. She received her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from The University of Texas at Arlington. In her free time, she enjoys reading books, exploring, and hiking new nature spots, swimming, and trying to get on the rings.
Sanidhya Jain
Graduate Research Assistant
Sanidhya is a Master’s student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. He is originally from India and received his Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University in December 2022. He is researching system acceptance testing and human factors design in military aviation. During his undergraduate studies, Sanidhya was a Teaching Assistant for First-Year Engineering courses for 3 years due to his passion for guiding and mentoring aspiring engineers. Outside of academics, Sanidhya follows Formula One and likes to work out, take long walks, and cook.
Javid Mardanov
Graduate Research Assistant
Javid is a PhD student, studying Risk-Informed UAS Performance Requirements. He is originally from Baku, Azerbaijan, and received his Bachelor’s Degree in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University in May 2020.He has worked on multiple projects in multiple organizations throughout his career, including IEEE Aerial Robotics, AIAA DBF and Azercosmos (Azerbaijani State Space Agency). In his free time, he likes to watch and play soccer, work out, read and travel around the world.
Lipi Roy
Graduate Professional - Surf
Lipi is a Master’s student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. She received her bachelor’s degree in Aerospace engineering from the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, India, back in 2019. For a few years after that, she worked as a scientist in the Indian Space Research Organization where she contributed to crew module systems for the upcoming human space mission of India. She is passionate about building safe and optimal extra-terrestrial systems. Outside work, Lipi enjoys hiking, cooking, and playing music.
Megan Rush
Graduate Research Assistant
Megan is an undergraduate senior majoring in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering specializing in Aerospace Systems. She is from Orlando, Florida. She is graduating in December 2023 and will be starting her master’s degree in January 2024. Megan began her work with the Resilient Extra-Terrestrial Habitat Institute (RETHi) in the Purdue SURF Program in 2022 focusing on quantifying and calculating resilience metrics and continues to work with the Resilience Thrust. In her free time, Megan enjoys reading, exercising, and baking.
Aishwarya Stanley
Aishwarya is a PhD student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Arizona State University and the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign respectively. She works full-time in Indianapolis. Outside of school and work, she loves classical music and is an ardent DIY’er.
Yu-Kai Wang
Ross Assistantship
Yu-Kai is a Ph.D. student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. He holds M.S. and B.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. His journey into space exploration began in college. As a graduate researcher at the Advanced Rocket Research Center, Yu-Kai honed skills in rocket propulsion and contributed to pioneering the world's first autonomous GNC hybrid rocket, HTTP-3A. Previously, he worked as a systems engineer at the Taiwan Space Agency (TASA), contributing to satellite and launch vehicle projects. Yu-Kai's research centers on enhancing space system resilience and safety. Outside work, he enjoys swimming, traveling, and cooking.

Undergraduate Students

Noah Colasanti
Noah is an undergraduate sophomore majoring in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering planning to specialize in Astrodynamics and Space Applications. He is working as an undergraduate research assistant for the Resilient Extraterrestrial Habitat institute (RETHi) to develop habitat functionality models and integrate them into a dynamics, performance based, and predictive computational model. Outside work, he enjoys weightlifting, rock climbing, and playing hockey.
Zofia Stawiarska
Student Clerical
Zosia is an undergraduate senior majoring in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering with a specialization in Aerospace Systems. She is originally from Poland, but has spent most of her life in the Chicago area. She is graduating in May 2024 and continuing her education through Purdue’s BSAAE/MSAA program. Zosia is beginning her work on No Fault Found Failures and other aircraft and rotorcraft reliability issues to further explore topics she encountered during her internship at NAVAIR. Outside work and school, Zosia loves to cook, ski, and kiteboard.

Previous Group Members

Jacqueline Ulmer Resilient Space Habitats MS (June 2023) United States Air Force
Neelakshi Majumdar General Aviation Safety PhD (May 2023) Assistant Professor at University of Arkansas
Xinguan Zhang General Aviation Safety BS (May 2023) PhD Student at Purdue AAE
Megan Cilento Resilient Space Habitats MS (August 2022) Systems Engineer at Astrobotic
Georgios Georgalis Systems Engineering Failure Prevention PhD (August 2021) Data Scientist at Tufts University
Divya Bhargava Runway Incursion Reporting PhD (August 2021) Instructional Assistant Professor at Texas A&M
Tracy El Khoury Systems Engineering Education MS (August 2020) Technical Analyst at Oliver Wyman
Archana Ravindra No-Fault-Found Failures MS (August 2020) Systems Engineer at Honeywell
Robert Kitching Resilient Space Habitats (RETHi) MS (August 2020) FTL Systems Engineer at Northrop Grumman
Islam Nazmy Satellite Constellation Reliability MS (August 2020) GNC Engineer at Starfish Space
Kim Rink Project Failure Analysis

BS (May 2017), MS (May 2019)

Mars Surface Operations Engineer at NASA JPL
Nicoletta Fala General Aviation Safety PhD (August 2019) Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Oklahoma State University
Theo Sorg Project Failure Analysis BS (August 2019) PhD student at Purdue Engineering Education
Neelakshi Majumdar General Aviation Safety MS (Dec 2018) PhD Candidate at Purdue VRSS
Arpan Chakraborty General Aviation Safety MS (Dec 2018) Systems Engineer at Joby
Eric Van De Riet General Aviation Safety MS (Dec 2018) Operations Engineer at American Airlines
Diane Aloisio Project Failure Analysis

MS (August 2015), PhD (Dec 2018)

Senior Systems Engineer at Dynetics
Krysta Rolle Project Failure Analysis BS (May 2018) Undergraduate student at Purdue Polytechnic
Alex Ilmain Runway Incursion Analysis BS (May 2017) Flight Operations Engineer at Boeing
Rakshit Chandrahasa SoS Resilience MS (May 2017) Systems Engineer at Intelligrated Inc.
Arjun Rao General Aviation Safety PhD (Dec 2016) Human Factors Engineer at Boeing Commercial Airplanes
Stephen Builta Air Traffic Fuel Burn Analysis MS (Dec 2016) Flight Test Engineer at Lockheed Martin
Weronika Juszczak Project Failure Analysis BS (May 2016) Senior Manager of Date Analytics at Hillrom
Valentine Goblet General Aviation Safety MS (May 2016) Systems Engineer at Safran Electronics and Defense
Yiging Ding SoS Resilience BS (May 2016) PhD student at Stanford University
Jingjing Guo Air Traffic Control Risk Analysis PhD (Dec 2015) Edison Engineer at GE Global Research
Hang Sheng Stratospheric Fuel Burn MS (Aug 2015) Entrepeneur

Payuna Uday

Environmental Impacts of Aviation, SoS Resilience

MS (June 2011)

PhD (May 2015)

Research Scientist at the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC)

Tiffany Le Airport Surface Operations MS (May 2014) Product Manager at Boeing Aircraft
Jessica Rivas Total Ownership Cost MS (May 2014) Engineer at the Electric Boat Company
David Rankine Value of Energy BS (May 2014) Engineer at Alcoa
Sarah Arnac Aviation Data Analysis BS (May 2013) Design Engineer at Scaled Composites
John Yerant Aviation Data Analysis BS (May 2013) Project Engineer at Sikorsky
Kevin Fernandes Value of Energy MS (May 2013) AAPL Solutions
Madhur Khadabadi Value of Energy MS (Dec 2013) Senior Systems Engineer, Self Driving at Rivian
Matthew Hill Aviation Reliability Analysis BS (Dec 2011) Senior Systems Engineer at Boeing
Delri Muller Environmental Impacts of Aviation MS (June 2011) Logistics Manager at Unilever
Matthew Robichaud Aviation Maintenance Accidents MS (May 2011) Engineer at Bombardier

Hyeoncheol Baik

Air Traffic Delay Management

MS (May 2011)

Assistant Professor of Business Analytics, School of Business, Stockton University