AE Grad Students Awarded National Fellowships
Aerospace Engineering at Illinois congratulates several of our graduate students who have been successful in recently securing national and/or university fellowships.
New graduate student David R. Brandyberry and continuing graduate student Gabrielle E. Wroblewski have won National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships (GRFP). The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines at accredited U.S. institutions. Only about 2,000 fellowships are awarded from the estimated 16,500 applications received annually.
Having earned his bachelor’s in AE this past May, Brandyberry will work with Department Head Philippe Geubelle in the area of computational science and engineering and computational solid mechanics.
Brandyberry also won an Illinois Distinguished Fellowship from the University of Illinois Graduate College, a Carver Fellowship from the College of Engineering at Illinois, and an H.S. Stillwell Fellowship from the AE Department.
Brandyberry was recognized in April with the AE Department’s AIAA Scholastic Achievement Award, presented to the senior graduating in December 2014 or May 2015 with the highest class grade point average. The university presented him with a Bronze Tablet Award in recognition of his standing in the top 3 percent of undergraduate students across campus.
Wroblewski earned her bachelor’s degree in AE in 2014. She is working with Assistant Prof. Phillip Ansell on wake survey experiments of wings designed for minimum drag.
"The goals of my research are to understand the effects of viscosity in the process of optimizing planar wing geometries for minimum drag and investigate how viscous effects can be incorporated into low-fidelity aerodynamic methods,” Wroblewski said. “In order to understand these effects, I have modeled three separate wing geometries for minimum drag under different assumptions and collected wake-survey data in the 3 by 4 foot wind tunnel in the Aerodynamics Research Laboratory. The drag reduction impacts possible from this study can improve the efficiency of aircraft, which would reduce fuel consumption and costs."
Rebecca Foust has been awarded National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) Space Technology Researcher Fellowships (NSTRF).
Working with Associate Prof. Soon-Jo Chung, Foust is developing formation flying satellites that autonomously assemble into a large satellite, like intelligent tinker toys, then reform into another satellite when the first mission is complete. Such satellite configurations will conduct missions that are a less expensive and more robust alternative to large-scale space systems.
“This NSTRF project aims to fill the gap of developing both conceptual design and guidance and control algorithms of autonomously constructing a large space structure out of a predefined set of heterogeneous component satellites,” according to Foust.
The fellowship will cover up to four years of Foust’s doctoral study. The NSTRF program sponsors U.S. graduate student researchers who show significant potential through their studies to contribute to NASA's strategic space technology objectives.
Advised by Assistant Prof. Marco Panesi, Robyn Macdonald has been awarded the three year National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship from the Department of Defense (DOD) for her work on physics based non-equilibrium models for chemical kinetics in high speed flows. The fellowship supports students pursing a doctoral degree in fields of interest to the DOD.
“My research focuses on simulating the environment surrounding a spacecraft during planetary entry,” Macdonald said. “Understanding the heat flux toward a vehicle during entry is crucial to the design and manufacturing of the heat shield. At these conditions, the chemical reactions occurring in the flow become important and influence the predicted heat flux.
“My work will focus on using advanced calculation techniques to consider the chemistry in these flows, using the most physically accurate models available,” she continued. “The applications of this work extend beyond space travel, and apply to missile defense technology, and high-speed aircraft.”