Nine UMD Students Awarded 2020 Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarships

Nine UMD Students Awarded 2020 Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarships

Nine UMD Students Awarded 2020 Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarships

Pictured left to right, top row: Rachel Harvey, Qingwen Wei, and Ravi Lumba; middle row: Amy Morin, Miranda Costenoble, and Emily Fisler; bottom row: Abhishek Shastry, Tyler Sinotte, and Christopher Thurman

In another standout year for the University of Maryland, nine out of this year’s 29 announced Vertical Flight Foundation (VFF) scholarships went to Department of Aerospace Engineering students.

VFF scholarships include a cash award and recipients are recognized during the Vertical Flight Society's 76th Annual Forum & Technology Display at the Grand Awards Banquet on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.

"Since 1977, our Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarships have helped inspire generations of students to pursue careers in vertical flight, with many now holding leadership positions in industry, academia and government," said Vertical Flight Society’s Executive Director Mike Hirschberg in their press release.

Congratulations to this year’s UMD recipients!

Bachelor Degree Recipients

Rachel Harvey, Raymond W. Prouty Scholarship

Harvey is a junior from Woodbridge, Virginia. As a member of the Gemstone Honors Program Team ASTRO, she is developing a robotic system for NASA's Deep Space Gateway. Harvey is also the Public Relations Chair for Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics (WIAA). Her current research is in the Aerospace Composites (CoRE) Lab under the mentorship of Professor Norman Wereley and Assistant Research Scientist Min Mao studying the development of 3d printed honeycombs for crash absorption applications. Harvey aims to complete a master's degree in aerospace engineering, with a focus on aerostructures and/or space system design. 

Qingwen Wei, Robert P. Ernst Scholarship

Qingwen is a sophomore and is in the First-Year Innovation and Research Experience: Autonomous Unmanned Systems Stream with Dr. Derrick Yeo. His interests are in unmanned aerial systems and, he is currently the president of the RC Flying Terps club that helps teach students to build and fly their own vehicles. Qingwen is active in off-campus outreach events, and his research projects include the development of novel airframes for the VFS micro-air vehicle competition and a long-endurance solar UAV concept for rainforest monitoring.

Master Degree Recipients

Ravi Lumba, Dean Carico Scholarship

Lumba is a graduate student working under the advisement of Associate Professor Anubhav Datta. His research is in the area of parallel structural analysis with specific applications for the field of rotorcraft. Currently, the most advanced structural analysis codes can take a long time to run, resulting in the use of lower fidelity codes. Lumba is working to address this by developing parallel algorithms that can make these advanced methods usable for design purposes. His long-term goals include continued development of tools that can continue to revolutionize the rotorcraft field by making it more efficient and capable, but most importantly safer.

Amy Morin, Dr. E. Roberts (Bob) Wood Scholarship

Morin is a second-year master’s student under faculty advisor Associate Professor Anubhav Datta. Originally from Lynnfield, Mass., she received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her current research at Maryland is blade fabrication for the Maryland Tiltrotor Rig. She is also a board member of Women in Astronautics and Aeronautics (WIAA) organization. Her future goals in aerospace engineering are to create more sustainable and environmentally friendly helicopters in aviation.

Doctorate Degree Recipients

Miranda Costenoble, Eugene K. Liberatore Scholarship

Costenoble is a fifth-year graduate student with faculty advisor Professor James Baeder, and a 2nd-year intern with the United States Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Army Research Lab (ARL). She received her B.S. in aerospace engineering from UMD in 2014. Her M.S. research focused on developing methods for the mesh generation process for computational fluid dynamics calculations, and automating those methods to reduce user time and effort. Recently, she has been applying her initial research to novel rotorcraft design to develop a design methodology for co-rotating coaxial rotors for their applications in small- and medium-sized rotorcraft systems. After completing her Ph.D. in 2021, she plans on remaining in in the aerospace industry and applying her knowledge of novel rotorcraft systems to practical vehicle designs.

Emily Fisler, Alfred and Elaine Gessow Scholarship

Fisler graduated from Northeastern University in 2015 with a B.S. in chemical engineering. She currently works with faculty advisor Associate Professor Anubhav Datta. Her research focuses on emerging lithium-sulfur battery technology that is lightweight and has a higher theoretical energy than current lithium-ion batteries, and its specific application to electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Lighter weight, higher energy lithium sulfur batteries will allow for more efficient and powerful aircraft. She is also a board member of Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics (WIAA) as well as a member of the department’s Graduate Student Advisory Committee (GSAC). After graduate school, she plans to continue working with energy storage concepts for aviation technology. 

Abhishek Shastry (2-time recipient), Dr. Joseph Hoeg Scholarship

Shastry is a Ph.D. student under faculty advisor Associate Professor Anubhav Datta.

Tyler Sinotte (2-time recipient): Dr. Richard M. Carlson Scholarship

Sinotte is a Clark Doctoral Fellow and Ph.D. student working with Professor Olivier Bauchau. During his graduate studies, he has worked on the development of a new experimental technique for predicting the structural properties of composite rotor blades using digital image correlation (DIC). After graduation, he hopes to continue working on structural dynamics research in the field of vertical flight aircraft.

Christopher Thurman, Joseph P. Cribbins Scholarship

Thurman is a Ph.D. student working remotely out of NASA Langley as a research assistant under Professor James Baeder. His research is in the study of multi-fidelity, computational aerodynamics and aeroacoustics for multi-copter vehicles. More specifically, he is working on the simulation of turbulence generated by these vehicles and the associated broadband noise emanation. This research is important to the study, verification, and abatement of noise for urban air-mobility, rotorcraft vehicles, seen as the future for passenger transport and package delivery. Thurman hopes that his research will directly help procure quieter vertical lift vehicles that pass noise certifications so rotorcraft passenger transport will become a reality.

Established in 1967, the Vertical Flight Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Vertical Flight Society. Since 1977, the merit-based scholarship program has awarded 590 scholarships to promising engineers in the field.

The A. James Clark School of Engineering is home to the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center, one of the leading research centers in vertical flight. The center carries out multidisciplinary research on a wide variety of aeromechanics disciplines for rotorcraft systems.

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May 5, 2020


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