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Our People

Principal Investigator

Karen Marais
Associate Head/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 21 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

Ali Alkhaleefah
Rem Ergonomics - Student Service
Ali is a Ph.D. student 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.
Radhika Bhopatkar
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Radhika is a Ph.D. student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. She completed her master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University under the Cummins Purdue Fellowship Program in May 2020. For her master’s degree, she presented a thesis on ‘Analysis of droplet impact on a liquid pool using digital inline holography’. She has a background in product testing and performance analysis. Her Ph.D. research is in the safety analysis of hybrid and electric aircraft. She has been an instructor for AAE 251 Introduction to Aerospace Design at Purdue University and has a substantial experience of being a lead TA for AAE 251 as well. She likes to travel, explore new places, and spend time with her family and friends.
Meghan Cilento
Graduate Research Assistant
Meghan is a Master’s student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Pittsburgh. As a member of the Resilient Extra-Terrestrial Habitats Institute (RETHi) at Purdue, her research focuses on the development and validation of a control-theoretic approach to resilience in space habitats. Such an approach will allow the system and agents (humans or robots) to prepare for all types of failures and events, both foreseen and unforeseen. In her free time, Meghan enjoys reading, playing the piano, flying general aviation airplanes, and taking her cat, Izzy, for walks in her travel backpack.
Takaharu Igarashi
Student Service - Stud Serv
Takaharu is a PhD student 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.
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.
Neelakshi Majumdar
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Neelakshi is a PhD candidate, 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.
Javid Mardanov
Graduate Teaching 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.
Jacqueline Ulmer
Pmri Fellowship
Jacqueline is a Master’s student in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. Previously, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering and completed Air Force ROTC also at Purdue. Her research is with the Resilient Extra-Terrestrial Habitats Institute (RETHi). After she graduates, she will go to Undergraduate Pilot Training for the Air Force. Outside of academics, Jacqueline spends her time thrift/vintage shopping, sewing, going on walks, and being with friends.

Previous Group Members

Georgios Georgalis Systems Engineering Failure Prevention PhD (August 2021) Data Scientist at Tufts University
Divya Bhargava Runway Incursion Reporting PhD (August 2021) Assistant Teaching Professor at Drexel College of Engineering
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) PhD Student at UC Boulder
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) Staff Systems Engineer at Collins Aerospace
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