Celebrating the many aerospace engineering students awarded scholarship and top accolades during Spring 2024. 

ASDL Wins Institute’s Outstanding Achievement in Research Program Impact

ASDL researchers win EVPR Outstanding Research Award

EVPR Chaouki T. Abdallah poses with Olivia J. Pinon Fischer, Dimitri Mavris, Michelle R. Kirby, and Elena Garcia after accepting their award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Program Impact. 

Regents’ Professor Dimitri Mavris, Michelle R. Kirby, Elena Garcia, and Olivia J. Pinon Fischer from the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) received the Institute's Outstanding Achievement in Research Program Impact Award for 2024.  The Office of the Executive Vice President for Research presents the annual award to exceptional faculty and staff for their achievements in “Research that Matters” in the advancement of science and technology to better society. The award was presented at the Faculty and Staff Honors Luncheon on April 26 in the Exhibition Hall. 

Sixteen Aerospace Undergraduates Recognized by Women in Engineering 

Sixteen Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering (AE) undergraduates were awarded scholarships at the 2024 Women in Engineering Banquet, held on April 11 at the Georgia Tech Exhibition Hall. 

AE Awardees include: Suhanna Bamzai (Boeing), Madeline Barnes (Benevity Fund), Sana Churi (Street Smarts Endowment), Isabel De Los Santos Ramirez (Boeing), Sarah Dea (Boeing), Lauren Forcey (Street Smarts Endowment), Olivia Graham (Street Smarts Endowment), Morgan Gregg (Boeing), Jaffa Heryudono (Boeing), Nandini Kotamurthy (Boeing), Gracye Lamb (Garrett Langley Endowment), Emma Li (L3Harris), Gabriella Nichols (L3Harris), Rabia Shahid (Boeing), Rebecca Wang (L3Harris), and Abigail Yohannes (Benevity Fund). 

Hosted by Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering, the prominent event brings together nearly 500 students, alumni, corporate partners, and Institute leaders to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of female engineering students who have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and above. In addition to dinner and networking, each recipient received $1,000 to go towards their engineering education at Georgia Tech. 

Alexis McKittrick, current program manager of the Department of Energy and a Society of Women Engineers 20-plus year and life member, gave the keynote address which focused on how to live without limits, which aligns with the Society of Women in Engineering (SWE) theme for the year.

aerospace engineering students awarded Women in Engineering scholarships

Sarah Dea, Nandini Kotamurthy, and Morgan Gregg

Two Aerospace Engineering Students Awarded NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunities (NSTGRO) Fellowship

Taylor Hampson

Taylor Hampson

Jacob Knott

Jacob A. Knott

AE recent graduate Taylor Hampson, AE 2024 and graduate student Jacob A. Knott receive the prestigious NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunities (NSTGRO) Fellowship along with $84,000. 

Hampson will use the award to help fund his master’s degree in nuclear engineering at MIT starting this fall. Hampson worked in the High-Power Electric Propulsion (HPEPL) Laboratory and was mentored by nuclear engineering Professor Kotlyar, head of the Computational Reactor Engineering (CoRE) Lab at Georgia Tech. 

Hampson’s research will be in transient system analysis of a liquid-core nuclear-thermal propulsion engine. The work is inherently computational and essentially consists of simulating the startup and shutdown of an early-stage nuclear rocket engine to assess whether the engine is technologically feasible. 

He started working on this engine concept during a part-time NASA internship at Marshall Space Flight Center.

The fellowship will go towards Knott’s pursuit of his Ph.D. at Georgia Tech. He works in the High-Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory (HPEPL) with Professor Mitchell Walker. His research focuses on improving the acquisition frequency of the THz pulse, which will allow him to examine how the plasma properties change over very short time windows (microseconds). 

This direct measurement high-speed measurement of the discharge plasma will give a more complete picture of the unsteady processes at work inside the thruster. The goal is to use a pulsed THz radiation source to interrogate the properties of the plasma within a Hall-Effect Thruster discharge.

Aerospace Engineering Outstanding Senior Award

Cayetana Salinas Rodriguez was awarded the Aerospace Engineering Outstanding Senior Award. Funded through an endowment established by former School chair Donnel W. Dutton, AE 1940, the $1000 award is given annually to the graduating aerospace student with the highest cumulative GPA. The Spring 2024 graduate will continue her studies at Georgia Tech and pursue her master's degree through the School's BS/MS program, focusing on controls in autonomy with robotics. After completing her graduate studies she's determined to enter industry and contribute to the next generation of Eurospace, envisioning what it will look like in the next 20 or 30 years. 

Cayetana Salinas

Salinas (right) receives her award from Doug Williams during the Spring 2024 awards luncheon

Donald Dutton Outstanding Senior Award

Fatema Waad Jalal received the Donald Dutton Outstanding Senior award. The $1,000 award is given annually to a student who has demonstrated excellence both in and outside of the classroom. The AE senior is headed to Edwards Air Force Base to be a flight test engineer with the Air Force Test Center. 

"I am so thankful, and I am so excited for this journey! I could not have achieved this dream without the amazing help of my AE professors, advisors, and classmates," shared the recent graduate. "I'd like to give a very special thank you to Professor Griendling, Professor McColl, Professor Jagoda, Professor Oefelein, Professor Dec, Professor Patil, Professor Sankar, Professor Maston, Professor Yang, Professor Rogers, and Professor Seitzman. Thank you to my advisors Mr. Patel and Mr. Lundy. Thank you for everything."

Fatema Jalal

Fatema Jalal

AE Alumni Honored at 2024 College of Engineering Alumni Awards

Leaders at Georgia Power, Coach, IBM. An engineer who worked on NASA’s Apollo-era Saturn rockets. A former dean of the College. 

They were among a group of 30 College of Engineering graduates honored at the 2024 Alumni Awards Induction Ceremony in Atlanta. They were celebrated for their contributions to the engineering profession, career accomplishments, and the ways they’ve enhanced the lives of others both personally and professionally.

Honorees are annually nominated by committees within each of the College’s eight schools and formally submitted for selection. The event is held each spring.

Eight graduates joined the College’s Council of Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni based on their early career achievements. Nine others entered the College’s Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni for their significant and distinguished contributions as senior leaders in the field. 

Eleven received the College’s highest honor: induction into the Engineering Hall of Fame. 

The Council of Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni

After earning his Ph.D. from the Guggenheim School, Clayton Tino joined Virtustream, a venture-backed cloud computing startup, where he led algorithm development for the company’s global cloud management platform. After Virtustream was acquired by EMC for $1.2 billion in 2015 — followed by Dell Technologies in 2016 — Clayton led Dell’s managed cloud platform organization, which developed highly scaled public cloud infrastructure products in partnership with VMware and Microsoft. Clayton left Dell Technologies in 2019 to join Beep, Inc., as the chief technology officer. Beep is a venture-backed autonomous mobility company focused on providing electric, shared, accessible, autonomous mobility services. Clayton is responsible for the product development, safety, and regulatory affairs organizations, providing strategic leadership and oversight for the development of Beep’s autonomous mobility platform and services. Clayton serves on the AE School’s Advisory Council, has served as an AE School Mentor in Residence, and through Beep works as an industry partner of the AI Institute for Advances in Optimization. Clayton lives in Atlanta with his wife, Ariana, and daughter, Ximena.

Clayton Tino pictured with Dean Beyah

Dean Raheem Beyah, Clayton Tino, and Tom Fanning (from left)

Lara O'Connor Hodgson

Dean Raheem Beyah, Lara O'Connor Hodgson, and Tom Fanning

The Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni

Following graduation, Lara O'Connor Hodgson worked with the U.S. Department of Defense in Japan and as envoy to Lebanon during the 1996 Olympics. She earned her MBA from The Harvard Business School, then founded iXL’s Consumer Products Practice and served as executive vice president of Dunk.Net with basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal. Lara co-founded Nourish, a line of patented children’s bottled waters. Experiencing the pain of waiting to get invoices paid, she later created NowAccount. The company allows businesses to be paid immediately in a way that feels like accepting a credit card, but without loans or factoring. Lara co-authored an award-winning book, Level Up: Rise Above the Hidden Forces Holding Your Business Back, with Stacey Abrams. She serves as an entrepreneur-inresidence at Harvard Business School, is a Georgia Tech Foundation trustee, and serves on the advisory boards of the Guggenheim School and Harvard’s MS/MBA Program. She was previously named Georgia Tech Athletics Total Person Alumnus (Track & Field) and the Women in Engineering Alumna of the Year. Worth Magazine named Lara to the 2022 “Worthy 100” people with global impact.

Engineering Hall of Fame

Marcus J. Dash began his engineering career at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, from 1962 to 1972. He worked on the design of the Saturn family of rockets for the Apollo program and the initial systems engineering design of the Space Shuttle. In 1974, he graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA and joined Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he became a general partner. Marcus concentrated on financing large-scale energy development projects and headed many of the firm’s most important international project financing assignments. After retirement in 1994, he joined the faculty of the Georgia Tech College of Management — now the Scheller College of Business — to teach a course in investment banking. He would go on to teach various financial courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Marcus served as inaugural chairman of the College of Engineering’s Advisory Board. He has been a trustee of the Georgia Tech Foundation for 29 years and is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni and the Hill Society. He lives in Montana with his wife and has two sons.

Marcus Dash

Dash speaks to the attendees after accepting his award and being inaugurated into the Engineering Alumni Hall of Fame

Vertical Flight Foundation Awards Three AE Students

Three aerospace engineering students receive 2024 Vertical Flight Foundation (VFF) scholarships. Walther Chong, Ceren Esmek, and McKenna Taylor received their award along with $4,000 at the Vertical Flight Society’s 80th Annual Form & Technology Display on May 9, 2024, in Montréal, Québec, Canada. 

Taylor received the Dr. Robin Gray Scholarship, honoring the Georgia Tech professor who taught generations of students, including Taylor’s advisor, Professor Marilyn SmithTaylor is an undergraduate student engaging in research for a NASA University Leadership Initiative project with Smith to develop operational tools for Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) applications in urban air mobility. “I feel incredibly encouraged to continue my journey in higher education and am grateful to be recognized. This is an investment in my future as an engineer and graduate student,” said Taylor. 

Chong received the Dr. Dewey H. Hodges Scholarship, awarded to an applicant in aeromechanics and honoring the professor at Georgia Tech, decorated engineer, and one of the foremost aerospace researchers of his generation. Chong is a master’s student who has been conducting research in the Nonlinear Computational Aeroelasticity Laboratory, developing a representative environmental model for advanced air mobility as well as life cycle operational tools for the advanced air mobility sector.

“This award motivates me to work harder to live up to those who have come before me, as well as to help others to achieve their goals,” shared Chong. 

Esmek received the Charles C. Crawford Scholarship, named in memory of the former Army Aviation development leader, Georgia Tech Research Institute researcher and past Vertical Flight Society’s Board Chair. Esmek is a doctoral student conducting research at the Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence (VLRCOE) under the supervision of Professor JVR Prasad. Her research focuses on human factors engineering and flight dynamics and control.

"It is always good to see recognition for your efforts, no matter how big or small. It gives you the thrust to move forward and accomplish more. As an engineer who has been involved in helicopter-related projects since 2018 and who appreciates all the impressive minds behind any type of VTOL vehicle since then, this award was one of the most honorable ways for me to be acknowledged. I can only thank those who helped me to become the engineer I am and everyone who recognized this by giving me this award. Having this award, I hope to continue to do my best in this field in the future," said Esmek. 

National Science Foundation Awards Three AE Students Fellowships

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded 61 Georgia Tech students with Graduate Research Fellowships (GRF). The fellowships, valued at $159,000 each, include funding for three years of graduate study and tuition.

This year’s winners represent areas of study ranging from aerospace engineering to ocean sciences. The purpose of the GRF initiative, the oldest of NSF’s programs, is to develop experts who will contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering. Their awards total more than $9.5 million in funding, the most Georgia Tech has ever had in the program.

Aerospace Engineering Awardees:

  • Eric Anthony Comstock
  • Jennifer Nolan
  • Theodore St. Francis

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