SMART Scholarship Gives Aerospace Engineering Grad Student Alex Moushegian One Less Thing to Worry About

SMART Scholarship Gives Aerospace Engineering Grad Student Alex Moushegian One Less Thing to Worry About
ALex Moushgigian
Alex M. Moushegian

Concerns about where to work this summer – and beyond— have been greatly relieved for Alex M. Moushegian, one of two AE grad students chosen to receive the prestigious Science Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship from the United States Department of Defense.

Under the auspices of the SMART program, the 23-year-old doctoral student will be working at NAVAIR Labs in Maryland – and mentored by one of its professional engineers – for the duration of his doctoral graduate program at GT-AE. His ultimate goal is to become a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) expert in the rotorcraft field.

“The help I'm getting from the SMART scholarship is doubly valuable because I didn't study rotorcraft as an undergrad, and it's a very challenging field. But I definitely think it makes fluid mechanics much more interesting, and I will need to learn a lot more about it," says the RPI alumnus, now working with AE professor Dr. Marilyn Smith, the associate director of the AE's Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence.

“With the SMART scholarship -- pay, stipends, tuition, internships – I am being paid to do my best work. It’s exactly what I wanted from graduate school.”

 Established by Congress to strengthen the military’s science and technology workforce SMART  provides generous scholarships to well qualified students pursuing degrees in certain technical fields.. While in school, participants intern at DoD laboratories and return to those laboratories after graduation to complete a period of obligated employment service. This provides scholars with a unique opportunity to perform research in their respective area of interest that they would not have otherwise been able to do. The post-graduation employment commitment is equal to or greater than the amount of time the student received scholarship funding under this program.

Marilyn Smith
Prof. Marilyn Smith

Under Smith’s tutelage, Moushigian’s research will focus on the application of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to the design an analysis of rotorcraft systems.

“I began my graduate research working on hybrid CFD methods for rapid analysis of rotorcraft aeroelastic loads,” he explains. “This is mandatory to make CFD a viable tool for the Navy when modeling complex and long-age wakes.Both the Army and the Navy are interested in this dual-solver hybrid analysis tool. My role thus far has involved the assessment of novel frequency analysis methods to characterize the fidelity of these CFD results.” 

Looking ahead, Moushigian will work with his advisor, Dr. Smith, and his NAVAIR mentor to model the complex landing of fixed and rotary-wing vehicles on highly unsteady, turbulent environments, such as shipboard landings.

“I am also working on numerical physics modeling of fluidic actuation for aerodynamic flow control, which we will integrate with the hybrid solvers and a DoD framework.  This is first being applied to fixed-wing systems but it is also readily applicable to rotorcraft.”

Moushigian's classmate, Harleen Brar, was chosen for another SMART Scholarship.



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