Ashley and Greg performed summer research at Boeing Seattle
Perla Latorre is a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in aerospace engineering. Perla has been researching the positive and negative impacts of the lunar regolith and designing wear-resistant coating to protect the structures from lunar exploration at the Raghavan Research Group for three years. She was part of the L.E.A.R.N. program at UCF and a fellow at the X-Force and UCF-MSTAR programs, where she gained engineering and research experience. She is interested in continuing developing materials that can improve space components. Perla will continue her education by pursuing a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering. In her spare time, Perla enjoys running, playing soccer, and spending time with her family.
Michael Pierro is a current Aerospace Engineering doctorate student from the University of Central Florida, where he received his Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering bachelor’s degrees in 2020. He performs combustion diagnostic research at the High-Pressure Extended Range Shock Tube for Advanced Research laboratory (HiPER-STAR) under the advisement of Subith Vasu, Ph.D. He is a member of the Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research (CATER) and his work investigates next-generation fuel blends for gas turbine engines. He has also performed research on liquid methane (LCH4) oxidation at rocket engine thrust chamber conditions and has been a contributing author on four journal publications as well as the lead author of five conference papers. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf, watching Formula One, and cooking.
Rosa Olivera is currently an undergraduate student pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering with an interest in combustion research. Before transferring to UCF, she was President of the Florida Engineering society and an involved member of the IEEE organization at Miami Dade College. At UCF she became an active member of AIAA where she participated in remote-controlled aircraft competitions and took part as an Event Coordinator. Since 2021, Rosa has been conducting research at Vasu lab in conjunction to the IRES program to research the byproducts of sustainable aviation fuel through gas turbine combustor simulation. More recently, Rosa received her Level 1 High Power Rocketry Certification and is applying a cluster motor model to her Senior Design Project. On her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, hiking, traveling, and listening to podcasts. She joined the lab in 2021.
Benjamin Latrobe completed his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from UCF in Fall 2021 and will begin his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at UCF in Fall 2022. In his undergraduate years, he completed an Honors Undergraduate Thesis, and submitted a publication for review in the Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science Journal, from his work in the Experimental Fluid Mechanics lab at UCF under the advisory of Dr. Samik Bhattacharya. He joined IRES in 2021 and is collaborating with Dr. Daniel Schanz from DLR.
Brendon Cavainolo is a graduate student and just finished his first year in the UCF Aerospace Engineering PhD program. He graduated with his bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering in Spring 2021 and also completed an Honors Undergraduate Thesis. Brendon has been a contributing author on several conference papers and is awaiting the publication of a couple others. Brendon has worked in the Computational Fluids and Aerodynamics Laboratory under Dr. Michael Kinzel since Spring 2019, tackling several multiphase problems using computational fluid dynamics. This is Brendon’s first year in the IRES program and is working under Dr. Ravisankar Naraparaju at the DLR facility in Cologne, Germany.
Vanessa D’Esposito is an undergraduate honors student pursuing a Bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering and minors in Computer Science, Mathematics, and Music. She joined the Raghavan Research Group in Summer 2020, and works on high temperature coatings. She’s a member of SEDS-UCF, ASME-UCF, a student leader in ELI2, and sousaphone (tuba) player in Marching and Jammin’ Knights. In the past, she has worked at SimBlocks.io as a software development intern and at PeakActivity as an Innovation Intern, and she currently works as a CWEP at Lockheed Martin under Infrared Search and Track, specializing in algorithm development. Her hobbies include programming, sports, keeping up with space-related news, videogames, practicing and composing music, and painting.
Jillian Gloria is an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Aerospace Engineering. Currently she works at Exolith Lab manufacturing high-fidelity Lunar, Martian, and Asteroid regolith simulants for research purposes. In the past, she’s held internships in the Private Space Industry with a focus on Lunar Robotic Technologies at the Earthrise Space Foundation, Inc., and in the Energy Sector analyzing technical risks for new and existing Gas Turbines at Siemens Energy. Jillian has also conducted NASA funded Surface-Science research on Model-Silicates used to simulate regolith with the goal of better understanding the effects of Space-Weathering on the surface of airless bodies in space (eg. Moon, Mars, and near-Earth asteroids). In her free time, she focuses on inspiring the next generation of STEM through both local and global endeavors! Her ultimate goal is to aid in the advancement of humankind’s sustainable footprint in space.
Benjamin Latrobe is an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering student with a minor in Computer Science. He is currently working towards a Honors Undergraduate Thesis, with research on the Flow over Cylinders and the effect of Plasma Actuation, in the Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research lab at UCF, under the advisory of Dr. Bhattacharya. He is also a teaching assistant for the Intro to Engineering courses, EGS1006 & EGN1007. In his free time, Benjamin enjoys making music on a marimba and playing video games.
Max Fortin is currently an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering student. He joined the Propulsion and Energy Research Lab, headed by Dr. Kareem Ahmed, in late 2018. He primarily performs combustion and fluid dynamics research focusing on energy and aerospace applications. In his free time, Max likes to ride bikes, read, and hike.
Contact: max. fortin_at_knights.ucf.edu
Rosa Olivera is currently an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering with an interest in combustion research. Transferring from Miami Dade College, where she was President of the Florida Engineering society. Now she serves as the Event Coordinator for AIAA at UCF. On her free time, she spends a great deal of her time designing and cultivating new ideas into projects such as RC planes and Arduino related projects. Her hobbies include reading fiction, playing video games, hiking and heavy lifting. She joined the lab in Spring 2021.Contact: rodriguez11511_at_knights.ucf.edu
Samantha DeNicola is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering working on both her bachelor’s and master’s degree. She is a member of Tau Beta Pi and SWE. Formerly she was an operations intern at Shaw Development and is currently a CWEP at Lockheed Martin in Reliability and Sustainment Engineering. Previously in Spring 2020, she travelled to Embraer in Sao Paulo, Brazil to understand contemporary design challenges and synthesis solutions in the aerospace manufacturing industry. She joined the IRES team in Spring 2021. In her free time, she enjoys fitness and travelling.Contact: samdenicola_at_knights.ucf.edu
Michael Tonarely is currently a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace along with a minor in Mathematics in 2020. For several years, Michael has been working at the Propulsion and Energy Research Laboratory at UCF, with a focus on combustion and liquid fuel injection. During this time, he completed his Honors Undergraduate Thesis on the stabilization of bluff body flames with aviation fuels. As a member of UCF AIAA, he took part in several projects designing both rockets and aircraft for club competitions. In his free time, Michael enjoys reading, chess, and playing video games.
Drew Vigne is an undergraduate student majoring in mechanical engineering and minoring in mathematics. He is working on his Honors in Major thesis for CFAL, where he researches computational fluids and aerodynamics. Currently, he is developing a method to reduce the computational cost of bicycle wheel CFD via Blade Element Momentum techniques. Another research interest of his is composites, a topic he explores within his role as the ergonomics lead for Knights Racing FSAE by building composite race car components like the pedal box, steering wheel, aerodynamic wings, and wheels. When he is not being an engineer, he is probably out racing on his road bike for the Cycling Knights or the Sarasota Cycling Club.
Jessica Baker is currently an undergraduate student pursing her Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering along with a minor in Mathematics. She joined Vasu Lab in the spring of 2019 and began working on the IRES program with a research focus on combustion. She is a member of the Burnett Honors College and is an active member of the Honors Congress, SWE, and AIAA. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts and playing video games.Contact: jessicablueb_at_knights.ucf.edu
Andrew Laich is currently a Ph.D. student studying Mechanical Engineering within the Thermal Fluids Track. He is a member of the Combustion, Propulsion, Laser Diagnostics & Absorption Sensors, and Fuels Laboratory (Vasu Lab) performing combustion kinetics research with an emphasis on aerospace and energy applications. He is also the recipient of the 2017 UCF ORC Fellowship. In addition to combustion science, Andrew enjoys traveling, nature, coffee and music.Contact: alaich_at_knights.ucf.edu
Matt is pursuing a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering with a focus on Space Systems Design and Engineering. He completed his Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2016 at UCF, then worked for two years as a design engineer at American Civil Engineering Company in Orlando before deciding to devote his time to research and to pursue a graduate degree in the Aerospace field. He is interested in orbital and structural mechanics as well as materials science. He joined the lab in Fall 2016 as an undergraduate studying CMAS effects on TBCs, then rejoined in Spring 2018 to work on PS-PVD TBCs. Since he joined the lab, he has manufactured TBC samples at the NASA Glenn Research Center and performed 2D XRD experiments on them. In his free time, he enjoys listening to fictional audiobooks, traveling, and playing sports.Contact: matthewnortham_at_knights.ucf.edu
Zac is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering with an interest in aerospace materials research. He is a member of SEDS-UCF and in his spare time, he enjoys designing and building high-power rockets and learning and applying new skills, such as learning languages. While in the lab, Zac has studied the effects of CMAS on TBCs, which led him to perform experiments at Argonne National Laboratory during Summer 2018.Contact: steinzj_at_knights.ucf.edu
Michelle Otero is currently a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D in mechanical engineering. During her undergraduate years she interned at Northrup Grumman and Universal Studios. After working in industry her sophomore and junior year, she decided to do research her senior year with Dr. Ahmed in the Propulsion and Energy Research Lab (PERL) at UCF. After a semester working in the lab, she realized that she loved doing research and wanted to pursue her Ph.D. Her research focus is currently on thermoacoustic instabilities found in combustion chambers. In her spare time, she enjoys watching T.V. documentaries, especially of unsolved murder cases.
Luisana Calderon is currently a graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. She is doing research at the Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research (CATER) lab at UCF. She studies heat transfer and the fluid behavior of different cooling schemes used for turbine cooling.
Jalime Vargas is an undergraduate student pursuing her bachelor’s and master’s degree in aerospace engineering, with a focus on space systems, through the B.S. to M.S. program at UCF. She has been conducting research at the Propulsion and Energy Research Lab (PERL) with a focus on detonation wave propagation in hypersonic crossflows with the hopes of advancing propulsion technologies in space place engines since January 2017. Her research interests include deep space exploration propulsion and she has career goals of building spaceships for space exploration and colonization and commercializing space travel. Jalime is an NSF RAMP and NSF CAMP YES Entrepreneurship Scholar, an officer in STREET and SHPE Jr, and an active participant of AIAA, SWE, and SEDS.
Chance Barrett is currently a 2nd year PhD student in physics interested in material characterization with a focus on nanoscale time resolution. He graduated from Lincoln University (PA), in 2015 with a degree in physics and French. While he works under Dr. Laurene Tetard, Chance became a collaborator with the Raghavan Research CMAS group in the Fall of 2017
Estefania Bohorquez is an undergraduate student currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Structural Engineering and a technical degree on AutoCAD drafting along with a minor in Art History. She has successfully completed an internship with The Walt Disney Co. Architecture & Facilities Engineering Division as a Structural Engineering Intern. Currently, she works as a Structural Engineering Intern at Siemens Energy, Power, and Gas. Now, she is a participant in the IRES: US-Germany Collaboration project where she plans to implement what she has learned about the industry.
Debraliz Isaac Aragones is currently an undergraduate aerospace engineering student working on her bachelor’s and master’s degree through the B.S. to M.S. program at UCF. She transferred to UCF from Lake Sumter State College in the spring of 2016. She has been a member of the Raghavan Research Group since the spring of 2018 when she joined the IRES program. Her research focus is characterizing additively manufactured Ni-based superalloys. She is a recipient of the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund of Metro Orlando and is an active member of their community. In her spare time, she enjoys exercising and reading.
Lin Rossmann is currently an undergraduate student studying mechanical engineering and is interested in materials research. In her spare time, she enjoys sewing, gardening, and reading science fiction.
Owen Pryor is currently a Ph.D. student studying Mechanical Engineering with a focus on combustion kinetics and propulsion systems. He is a recipient of the UCF ORC, FSGC DIF, and USAF Summer Faculty fellowships.
Jose Cotelo is a graduating senior in mechanical engineering. His previous research and academic experience include a semester abroad in the UK, a summer research experience at the University of California, Irvine, and two years of simulation and experimental mechanics research with the Mechanics of Materials Research Group at UCF. He has long-term aspirations of becoming a professor and will be pursuing a Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering upon graduating.
Zachary Crain is an undergraduate Aerospace Engineering student. He is interested in researching WIPOX matrix applications for aerospace materials. He is currently an Aviation Design Lead for AIAA@UCF and a participant in the IRES: US-Germany Collaboration project. He enjoys spending his free time playing golf and learning acoustic guitar.
Wilson Perez is currently an undergraduate student studying Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering. He currently does research on next-generation adhesive strength and is also interested in advanced aerospace materials. He is a McNair Scholar and his hobbies include playing music and skateboarding. He will be graduating Spring 2016.
Brooke Sarley is currently an undergraduate student studying Mechanical Engineering, with a focus on materials. She is researching additively manufactured superalloys with applications in the aerospace field, under a ICubed and RAMP fellowship programs. In addition to materials engineering, Brooke enjoys participating in cross-cultural education and collaboration.