Skip navigation

Our People

Principal Investigator

Karen Marais
Associate Head/Associate Professor
ARMS 3325

Dr. Karen Marais' research focuses on developing ways to deliver value through reliability, safety, and sustainability. On the theme of reliability, she is interested in how decisions about reliability and maintenance affect the value delivered by systems. She has shown, for example, that a focus on cost can result in a decrease in value. On the theme of safety, she is interested in how we can design and operate complex systems to work with human nature, rather than attempting to force people to be constantly vigilant and never make mistakes. She is currently extending this safety work to the prevention of other project failures too. Dr. Marais also works on data-driven approaches to improving aviation safety, in particular, on developing ways to use smartphone and other device data to improve General Aviation safety. On sustainability, Dr. Marais' primary focus is on the environmental impacts of aviation. Here, she investigates operational improvements that can reduce aviation emissions. She is the author or co-author of several technical publications, including 17 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 B.Sc. in 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

Divya Bhargava
Graduate Teaching Assistant

Divya Bhargava is a Master's student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. She does research on General Aviation safety. She received her Bachelors Degree in Aerospace Engineering from SRM University, Chennai, India. She likes cooking, dancing and watching Disney movies.

Tracy El Khoury
Graduate Research Assistant
Tracy is a Master's student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University and has completed her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. She loves to travel, hike, eat, read and listen to music while doing all of the above.
Nicoletta Fala
Graduate Teaching Assistant

Nicoletta Fala is a PhD student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. Nicoletta received her undergraduate degree degree from Purdue in May 2014, with minors in Manufacturing Graphics and French. In her free time, Nicoletta enjoys reading, expanding her knowledge in different areas, playing music, and flying general aviation planes.

Georgios Georgalis
Graduate Administrative/Professional

Georgios is currently a PhD student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University and has completed his undergraduate degree at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). He is interested in Systems Engineering and gets fascinated by complex socio-technical problems. During his Masters studies at Purdue, Georgios worked on an experiment that flew on Blue Origin’s suborbital rocket to space. In his free time, he enjoys watching TV shows, playing games and working out. He is also an aviation geek and frequent flyer.

Robert Kitching
Graduate Research Assistant
Robert Kitching is a Master’s student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. He completed his undergraduate degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering also at Purdue in May 2017, with a minor in Global Engineering. During his undergrad, he spent a semester abroad studying engineering design at ESTACA in Paris, France, and also spent a year working with Airbus Commercial Aircraft as an airworthiness and certification engineer in Bristol, UK. Robert’s research focuses on using design strategies to ensure resilience in complex systems. In his free time, he likes to cook, travel, and enjoys functional fitness.
Neelakshi Majumdar
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Neelakshi is a PhD student, studying General Aviation fixed-wing aircraft safety. She received her undergraduate degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from India. After working as a programmer analyst at Cognizant for two years, she completed her Master's degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at Purdue in 2018. She has also been working as an instructor of an undergraduate course at Purdue University since 2016. Her passion of teaching and guidance from Dr. Marais in her master's research has shaped her career goals. Her future plan is to work in academia. Neelakshi is also a student pilot at Purdue Aviation and she enjoys swimming, painting, and traveling.
Islam Nazmy
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Islam is a Master’s student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Purdue in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering in May 2018. His research is on how to find an accurate probability of collision between spacecraft and debris in low earth orbit. In his free time, he loves to travel, learn other languages, and cook dishes from around the world.
Archana Ravindran
Graduate Administrative/Professional
ARMS 3130
Archana is a Master’s Student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. She is Majoring in Aerospace Systems and is currently working on building a decision-making framework for failure events where there is ‘No Fault Found’. She received her undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, India in 2013. Since then she has been working for the Indian Space Research Organization as an Aerodynamics and Aeroacoustics Design Engineer. She is a trained Indian classical dancer, a swimmer, an avid reader, and enjoys spending her money traveling while experiencing different cultures.
Kimberly Rink
Knox Fellowship - Grouped
Kimberly Rink is a Master’s student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Purdue in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. Her research is a joint effort with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to determine how and why space exploration missions are affected by deviations from standard design processes. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the guitar and being outdoors.

Previous Group Members

Kim Rink Project Failure Analysis BS (May 2017), MS (May 2019) Mars surface operations engineer at NASA JPL
Theo Sorg Project Failure Analysis BS (August 2019) PhD student at Purdue Engineering Education
Neelakshi Majumdar General Aviation Safety MS (Dec 2018) PhD student at Purdue VRSS
Arpan Chakraborty General Aviation Safety MS (Dec 2018) Avionics Systems Engineer at Cirrus
Eric Van De Riet General Aviation Safety MS (Dec 2018) Operations Engineer at American Airlines
Diane Aloisio Project Failure Analysis 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) Visiting Assistant Professor at Texas A&M
Stephen Builta Air Traffic Fuel Burn Analysis MS (Dec 2016) Flight Test Engineer at Lockheed Martin
Weronika Juszczak Project Failure Analysis BS (May 2016) Strategy Analyst at Gogo
Valentine Goblet General Aviation Safety MS (May 2016) Engineer at Rockwell Collins
Yiging Ding SoS Resilience BS (May 2016) Masters student at Stanford University
Jingjing Guo Air Traffic Control Risk Analysis PhD (Dec 2015) Edison Engineer at GE Global Research
Diane Sorenson Project Failure Analysis MS (Aug 2015) PhD candidate at Purdue VRSS
Hang Sheng Stratospheric Fuel Burn MS (Aug 2015) Entrepeneur
Payuna Uday SoS Resilience Environmental Impacts of Aviation

PhD (May 2015), MS (June 2011)

Consultant at Landrum and Brown
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) Technical Consultant at Internshop Communications
Madhur Khadabadi Value of Energy MS (Dec 2013) Systems Integration Engineer for Autonomous Vehicles at General Motors
Matthew Hill Aviation Reliability Analysis BS (Dec 2011) 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) PhD Student at SUNY