AIAA Announces 2023 Regional Student Conference Winners Written 9 May 2023



Pictured: Members of the AIAA 2023 Region V Student Conference team. | Credit: AIAA–© | View the  2023 Regional Student Conferences Photos

May 9, 2023 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is pleased to announce the winners of six of the 2023 Regional Student Conferences. Additionally, the papers presented at the regional student conferences will be published by AIAA for the first time and available on Aerospace Research Center (ARC) in January 2024.

“We are thrilled to see our student members in action during AIAA Regional Student Conferences. University students gain practical experience presenting their research findings and receiving valuable feedback from professionals in the aerospace community,” said Dan Dumbacher, AIAA executive director. “It’s exciting to enhance this experience by also publishing these students’ papers, giving them another building block for a successful career. We look forward to seeing these students shape the future of aerospace!”

AIAA holds conferences in each region for university student members at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The student conferences are a way for students to present their research in person. They are judged on technical content and presentation skills by AIAA members working in the aerospace industry. Lockheed Martin was the generous sponsor of these conferences, in addition to many other regional-level sponsors.

More than 165 papers were presented by university and high school students across six regions, with over 600 students and professionals in attendance.

The first-place university student winners in each undergraduate, graduate, and team categories (listed below) are invited to attend and present their papers at the AIAA International Student Conference  held in conjunction with the 2024 AIAA SciTech Forum, 8-12 January, Orlando, Florida.

Region I Winners
Undergraduate Category

  • 1st Place – “Cislunar Explorers Redesign: Multiple, Independent Technology Demonstrations Reduce Mission Risk,” Emily Matteson and Nidhi Sonwalkar, Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
  • 2nd Place – “Comparison of Capture Quality Indices for Net-Based Capture of Zenit-2 Rocket,” Alexa Schultz and Eleonora Botta, University at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY)
  • 3rd Place – “Multicriteria Analysis of Robotic End-Effectors for Grasping Space Debris,” Melanie Orzechowski and Michael Bazzocchi, Clarkson University (Potsdam, NY)

Masters Category

  • 1st Place – “Influence of Whipple Shield Configuration on Hypervelocity Impact Resistance,” Sean Stokes and Javid Bayandor, University at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY)
  • 2nd Place – “Effects of Flight Configurations on the Performance of Nano-Quadrotors in Hover,” Anoop Kiran and Kenneth Breuer, Brown University (Providence, RI)
  • 3rd Place – “Parallel Unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) Studies of the Performance of ONR Waterjet AxWJ-2,” Stephen Monroe and Chunlei Liang, Clarkson University (Potsdam, NY)

Team Category

  • 1st Place – “Design and Testing of an Amphibious AUV,” Michael Beskid, Ryan Brunelle, Calista Carrignan, Robert Devlin, Toshak Patel, and Kofi Sarfo, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA)
  • 2nd Place Tie – “Interstellar Radioisotope Modular Architecture (IRMA),” Christina Decker, Ankur Devra, Sonali Adhikari, Ryan Bantel, Mathis Verjus, and Javid Bayandor, University at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY)
  • 2nd Place Tie - “USMA Army Rocketry and Engineering Sciences (ARES) - NASA Student Launch Competition Team,” Maximus Marchi, Pavel Shilenki, Tavis Cahanding, and Ellery Donya, University States Military Academy (West Point, NY)
  • 3rd Place – “System Design Review (SDR) - Concept Generation for a Cost Efficient, Super-Heavy Launch Vehicle,” Hanna Kruse, Jubel Kurian, Margee Pipaliya, and Rohith Shenoy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, VA)

Region II Winners
Undergraduate Category

  • 1st Place – “Wake Surfing: Vortex Wake Energy Recovery for sUAS’s,” Joseph Westermeyer, University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)
  • 2nd Place – “An Implementation of the A* Search Algorithm for Dynamic Message Routing in Homogeneous Communication Satellite Networks,” Alexandra Ramotar, Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)
  • 3rd Place – “An Analysis of the Filter Kernel of TPIV,” Andrew Shi, Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)

Masters Category

  • 1st Place – “Investigation of Single Luminophore, Polymer-Ceramic Pressure Sensitive Paint for High Speed Wind Tunnel Testing,” Jamison Murphree, University of Tennessee Space Institute (Tullahoma, TN)
  • 2nd Place – “Indentation Loading of Prismatic Cell Lithium-ion Battery Modules,” Sida Xu, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, FL)
  • 3rd Place – “Aeroacoustic Structures within a Supersonic Cavity,” John Parrish and Tushar Srivastava, North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC)

Team Category

  • 1st Place – “Team Flying Tigers Design, Build, Fly Competition,” James Liu, John Hamer, Ross Jenner, Sean Hopkins, Zachary Perry, Sophie Wood and Jeffrey Marchetta, University of Memphis (Memphis, TN)
  • 2nd Place – “Software Design of RHOK-SAT, a 1U CubeSat to Characterize Perovskites in LEO,” Anas Matar, José Pastrana, Marouf Mohammad Paul, and Zheng Yu Wong, Rhodes College (Memphis, TN)
  • 3rd Place – “Wildfire Identification Via CMOS Sensor Fitted High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) System,” Sam Cupples, Kyle Lindsey, Christian Schafer, Michael Smith, and Rob Wolz, Mississippi State University (Starkville, MS)

Outstanding Branch Activity Category

  • 1st Place – “Florida Tech Outreach,” Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne, FL)
  • 2nd Place – “University of Tennessee AIAA Professional Development Effort,” University of Tennessee Knoxville (Knoxville, TN)
  • 3rd Place – “Delta Tech Ops Tour,” Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)

Freshman/Sophomore Open Topic Category

  • 1st Place – “Ocean World Exploration Rover,” Beck Kerridge and Colin Zelasko, Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne, FL)
  • 2nd Place Tie – “History of Spacecraft Fuel Sloshing,” Jesus Delgado, Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne, FL)
  • 2nd Place Tie – “Review of Autonomous Technologies for a Crewed Exploration of the Lunar South Pole,” James Cross, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
  • 3rd Place – “Analysis of Cost Reduction of Space Travel with the ScramJet,” Mason Roddy, University of Tennessee Knoxville (Knoxville, TN)

Region III Winners
Undergraduate Category

  • 1st Place – “Flow Control Optimization Using Genetic Algorithms with Reduced Order Modeling,” Steven Murawski and Datta Gaitonde, Ohio Steve University (Columbus, OH)
  • 2nd Place – “Experimental Investigation of a Novel Morphing Wing Design,” Xinyu Gao, Julian Pabon, and Jielong Cai, University of Dayton (Dayton, OH)
  • 3rd Place – “Designing and Testing a Tilt-Rotor Mechanism for Horizontal and Vertical Hybrid Flight,” Sidharth Anantha and Ella Atkins, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI)

Masters Category

  • 1st Place – “Optimized Collision Avoidance for UAVs with Genetic Fuzzy Inference System,” Shyam Rauniyar and Donghoon Kim, University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)
  • 2nd Place – “Generation and Characterization of Discrete Vortical Gust,” Andrew Porterfield, Andrew Killian, and Sidaard Gunasekaran, University of Dayton (Dayton, OH)
  • 3rd Place – “Two-Phase Refrigerant R134a Void Fraction Pulse Power Study,” Zachary Carner, Wright State University (Dayton, OH)

Team Category

  • 1st Place – “Design of Thermoelectric Power Generation for Jet Engine Applications,” Ian Binder, Noah Hiler, Eric Imohersteg, Ethan Jack, Antony Kamenny, Hunter Kesler, Anthony Kuenzli, and Ehsan Rahimi, Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
  • 2nd Place – “Methods for Modeling and Controlling the Flight Path of a High Power Rocket,” Ismar Chew, Myles Taylor, Makena Thompson, Kiley Trine, and Michael Worosz, Trine University (Angola, IN)
  • 3rd Place – “Design of a FRCop-42 Regeneratively Cooled Thrust Chamber Assembly and Feed System,” Dillon Petty, Nicole Zimmerli, and Ana Clecia Alves Almeida, University of Akron (Akron, OH)

Region IV Winners
Undergraduate Category

  • 1st Place – “Development of a Simulator for Proximity Operations Using Multiple Space Vehicles,” Amber Diaz, New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM)
  • 2nd Place Tie – “Design and Evaluation of Propeller Flow Controls to Suppress Boundary Layer Separation for Low Reynolds Number Operations,” Dawson Manning and Kurt Rouser, Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)
  • 2nd Place Tie – “CFD Investigations for Vortex Rings’ Sustainability,” Torres Andrade J. Roberto, Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (Juárez, Mexico)
  • 3rd Place – “An Experimental Evaluation of Leading-Edge Surface Roughness Effects on Propeller Performance,” Austin Rouser, Drew Cooley, and Kurt Rouser, Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)

Masters Category

  • 1st Place – “Development of a Turboelectric Ground Test-Rig by Installation of a 180-kW Turboprop onto a Cessna-172,” Joshua Melvin and Kurt Rouser, Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)
  • 2nd Place – “Effect of Tilt Angle of Herringbone Microstructures on Enhancement of Heat and Mass Transfer,” Nathan Estrada and Yanxing Wang, New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM)
  • 3rd Place – “Dandelion-Inspired and Wind Powered Flying Sensors Suite for the Exploration of Martian Lava Tubes and the Martian Surface,” Jared Cannon, Adrian Salustri, and Mostafa Hassanalian, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (Socorro, NM)

Team Category

  • 1st Place – “Auroral Spectroscopy,” Aliasghar Shariff, Alicia Dykema, Diego Sosa, Joshlyn Mendez, and Tyler Philo, University of Houston (Houston, TX)
  • 2nd Place – “Rocket-Assisted Take-Off (RATO) System Design for An Existing Jet-Powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV),” Jared Greif, Kyle Hassett, Drew Cooley, Fernando Moran, Quentin Webster, Nolan Blueback, Mason Glover, Noah Quinnett, and Kurt Rouser, Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)
  • 3rd Place – “Preliminary Design, Analysis, and Testing of a Rapid Release Centrifugal Projectile Launcher,” Addison Miller, David Moreno, and Preston Hager, New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM)

Region V Winners
Undergraduate Category

  • 1st place – “Geometric and Material Improvements to Quiet Propeller Design,” Tristan Denholm, Grace Sian, and Charles Wisniewski, United States Air Force Academy (Air Force Academy, CO)
  • 2nd place – “Evaluation of Pilot Task Saturation Characteristics Via Simulated Cognitive Overloading,” Nehemiah Hofer and Mujahid Abdulrahim, University of Missouri Kansas City (Kansas City, MO)
  • 3rd place – “Effect of Compressibility on Simple Models for Body-Freedom Flutter,” Luke Wells and Samuel Stanton, United State Air Force Academy (Air Force Academy, CO)

Masters Category

  • 1st place – “Optimized Artificial Gravity Design for Interplanetary Ships,” William Thornton, Webster University (Colorado Springs, CO)

Team Category

  • 1st place – “Aerodynamic Evaluation of Longitudinal and Lateral-Directional Stability Coupling on the NASA Orion Crew Module,” Patrick Koenig, Joseph Roy, Lucas Yantis, and Casey Fagley, United States Air Force Academy (Air Force Academy, CO)
  • 2nd place – “The Hybrid Environment Immersive Simulation Training System: A Low-Cost, High-Impact Approach to Astronaut Training,” Julia Claxton, Esther Revenga Villagra, Trayana Athannassova, Sebastian Boysen, Lucy Davis, Akanksha Nelacanti, Rachael Carreras, and Sruthi Bandla, University of Colorado Boulder (Boulder, CO)
  • 3rd place – “Design, Fabrication, and Flight Testing of a sUAS for EW Mission Spaces,” Kaitlyn Butler, Tessa Blythe, Brooks Miller, Nehemiah Hofer, Mason Early, Juan Calderon, Valentine Echekwu, and Sadiq Hopkins, University of Missouri Kansas City (Kansas City, MO)

Region VI Winners
Undergraduate Category

  • 1st Place – “Characterization of Non-Conical Nozzle Geometries,” Benjamin Martin and Armen Aroutiounian, University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
  • 2nd Place – “Developing Non-Invasive Myo-Sensor for Avian Muscle Sensing (DIMSAM),” Travis Bouck and Nandeesh Hiremath, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (San Luis Obispo, CA)
  • 3rd Place – “A Framework to Improve Weight Estimation and Manufacturing Accuracy for Large Student Design Teams,” Vincent Liu, University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Masters Category

  • 1st Place – “Development of a Potassium Permanganate Catalyst-Infused Fuel Grain for Hydrogen Peroxide Hybrid Thruster Ignition Enhancement,” Ryan Thibaudeau and Stephen Whitemore, Utah State University (Logan, UT)
  • 2nd Place – “Investigation of Pre-Ignition Propellant Mixing in Rotating Detonation Rocket Engine,” Quentin Roberts, University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
  • 3rd Place – “Calculation and Analysis of the Rejected Takeoff Speed of a Commercial Airliner under Various Environmental Conditions,” James Gonzalez and Thomas Lombaerts, San Jose State University (San Jose, CA)

Team Category

  • 1st Place – “Development and Characterization of an Economical Airfoil Yaw Sensor for Motorsport Applications,” Alvin Ahn, Daniel Bae, Jude Nejmanowski, and Matthew Pozzi, University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
  • 2nd Place – “Human Hand Orthosis Actuated by Shape Memory Alloys for Space Applications,” Olivia Acarregui, Niki Ekström, Bradley Martin, and John Onufer, University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
  • 3rd Place – “SPAMMM – Solar Powered Array for Melting Materials on the Moon,” Parul Singh, Nathan Ng, Avi Patel, Camilo Garrido, Hazel Carey, Saren Daghlian, Rasool Ray, Kemal Pulungan, Sophie Polidoro, Catherine Zheng, and Soon-Jo Chung, California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA)

High School Category

  • 1st Place – “Quantifying Phase-Jitter to Improve the Accuracy in Rotor Measurements,” Meenakshi Manikandan, Mission San Jose High School (Fremont, CA)
  • 2nd Place – “Random Vibration Fatigue Analysis of a Simplified Aircraft Model using Ansys LS-DYNA,” Jerry Huang, Dublin High School (Dublin, CA)

Additionally, AIAA supported the 2023 19th  PEGASUS Student Conference, 14–15 April, at the Sapienza University of Rome in Rome, Italy. This annual conference gives graduate students the opportunity to present their technical work. The first-, second- and third-place winners will receive cash prizes from AIAA and the first-place winner will compete at the International Student Conference  alongside the Regional Student Conference winners. 

  • 1st Place – “Flow Control on the Green Raven UAV Using Aerodynamically Shaped Vortex Generators,” Carlos Neves, KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm
  • 2nd Place – “Multi-Fluid Finite Volume Formulation for the Simulation of Plasmas for Electric Propulsion Applications,” Iacopo Regoli, Università di Pisa
  • 3rd Place – “Analysis of Collision Avoidance Manoeuvres Using Aerodynamic Drag for the Flying Laptop Satellite,” Fabrizio Turco, University of Stuttgart

Media Contact: Rebecca B. Gray,, 804-397-5270 cell

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