Press Release

AIAA Announces 2022 Regional Student Conference Winners

By SpaceRef Editor
April 20, 2022
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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is pleased to announce the winners of six of the 2022 Regional Student Conferences. 


“We are thrilled to return to in-person AIAA Regional Student Conferences. These events are key to giving students practical experience presenting their research findings and receiving valuable feedback from professionals in the aerospace community,” said Dan Dumbacher, AIAA executive director. “We look forward to seeing how these students shape the future of aerospace!”


AIAA holds conferences in each region for university student members at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This is the first year since the program’s inception that High School Members were invited to present. The student conferences are a way for students to present their research and be judged on technical content and presentation skills by AIAA members working in the aerospace industry. Lockheed Martin was the generous sponsor of these conferences.


More than 170 papers were presented by university and high school students across all six regions, with over 500 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, to be held in conjunction with the 2023 AIAA SciTech Forum in National Harbor, Md., 23-27 January.


Region I Winners

High School Category

  • 1st Place – “Breaking Statistics of Airlines Sanitation Efforts,” Kristin Nelson, Natalie Catalano, and Ella Bianco, It’s a Girls World (Carneys Point, N.J.)


Undergraduate Category

  • 1st Place – “Estimation of UAS Relative Position and Orientation Using Multiple Parwise Range Measurements,” Ezra Bregin, University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
  • 2nd Place – “Viability in Electric Propulsion in Small Satellites for Active Debris Removal,” Yaw Tung Tan, Kelly Irons, and Elaine Petro, Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.)
  • 3rd Place – “Trajectory Optimization for Refueling Geosynchronous Satellites,” Evangelina Evans, Pennsylvania State University (State College, Pa.)


Masters Category

  • 1st Place – “Use of Naphthalene Sublimation Technique to Study Solid Fuel Regression,” Grace Hall, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, Va.)
  • 2nd Place – “Large Deformation Bending of Ultralight Deployable Structure for Nano and Micro Class Satellites,” Jimesh Bhagatji and Kravchenko Oleksandr, Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.)
  • 3rd Place – “QCM Temperature-Frequency Characterization for Plume Measurement Application,” Arthur Chadwick and Elaine Petro, Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.)


Team Category

  • 1st Place – “Jovian Autonomous Sailplane of Persistent Exploration and Research (JASPER),” Joseph Malach, Edward Luthartio, Haley Parker, Sydney Kwitowski, Aiman Alobah, Alexander Hertz, Sayad Asif, Javid Bagandor, University at Buffalo, State University of New York (Buffalo, N.Y.)
  • 2nd Place – “Development of Spectroscopic Measurement Systems of Investigating Scramjet Cavity Flameholding,” Andrew Metro, Spencer Barnes, Owen Petito, and Chloe Dedic, University of Virginia (Charlottesville, Va.)
  • 3rd Place – “Design and Analysis for an Ionospheric CubeSat,” Tyler Lizotte, Phillip Durgin, Jeremy Gagnon, Veronika Karshina, Christopher Ritter, Harrison Smith, Drake Tierney, and Samuel Waring, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, Mass.)


AIAA Aircraft Operations Technical Committee Best Aircraft Operations Paper

  • “IR Detection System for Application in Wildfire Suppression,” Adam Del Colliano, University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)


Region II Winners

Undergraduate Category

  • 1st Place – “Development and Fabrication of an Ultrasonic MEMS Anemometer for Use in Low-Pressure Environments,” Alexander Reilly, University of Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)
  • 2nd Place – “Developing a Bio-Inspired Artificial Butterfly Vehicle,” Thomas Clark and Chang-kwon Kang, University of Alabama in Huntsville (Huntsville, Ala.)
  • 3rd Place – “Application of Vibrational Damping on Spacecraft Crew Capsule Design Using Common Aerospace Materials,” Kody Parsotan and Seshan Jayapregasham, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, Fla.)


Masters Category

  • 1st Place Mike Freeman Award – Investigation of shock-wave Boundary Layer interaction for a Mach 1.8 flow Isolator,” Larry Thompson and Michael Atkinson, North Carolina A&T State University (Greensboro, N.C.)
  • 2nd Place – “View Factors and Busemann Geometry for Ram Accelerator Projectile Design,” Connor McGibbony and Eric Booth, Southeastern Louisiana University (Hammond, La.)
  • 3rd Place – “On the Kármán–Pohlhausen Momentum-Integral Approach: Extension to Flow Over a Cylinder with a Variable Pressure Gradient,” Rudy Al Ahmar and Joseph Majdalani, Auburn University (Auburn, Ala.)


Team Category

  • 1st Place Stan Powell Award – “Lunar Lava Tube Exploration with CubeRover: Wandering Observer of Lunar Features (WOLF) Rover,” Alina Creamer, Brigid Donohue, Bennett Meyer, and Manuel Puyana, North Carolina State University (Raleigh, N.C.)
  • 2nd Place – “Solid Propellant Arc Combustion for Small Satellite Propulsion,” Mallory Roy, Ashley Rivkin, Samuel Lovelace, Jessica Cutler, Nathan Fischer, Victor Robleto, Sean Gunther, Emily Milne, and Abram Murphy, Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne, Fla.)
  • 3rd Place – “Racing Drones for STEM Education,” Mackenzie Wiles, Bryce Fuson, and Michelle Engelke, Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne, Fla.)


Outstanding Branch Activity Category

  • 1st Place – “GT AIAA: Lockheed Martin Case Study,” Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Ga.)
  • 2nd Place – “Community Outreach in STEM at Florida Tech,” Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne, Fla.)
  • 3rd Place – “Career Networking Events—Meet the Geeks,” Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, Fla.)


Regional Design Team Category

  • 1st Place – “UofM NERD Team Rover Design,” University of Memphis (Memphis, Tenn.)


Freshman/Sophomore Open Topic Category

  • 1st Place – “The Future of Aviation in Zero Carbon Emissions Aircraft,” Shannon Tracy, Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne, Fla.)
  • 2nd Place – “Lunar Mining of Tritium,” Beck Kerridge and Colin Zelasko, Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne, Fla.)
  • 3rd Place – “Spacecraft Attitude Control Methods,” Jesus Delgado, Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne, Fla.)


Region III Winners

Undergraduate Category

  • 1st Place – “Design of an All-Terrain Aerial Robotic Interface (ATARI) as a Collaborative Platform for UAVs,” Rebecca Gilligan, University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • 2nd Place – “A Thermodynamics Analysis for Improvement of Carbon Dioxide Removal Technologies for Space,” Meghan Thai, Purdue University (West Lafayette, Ind.)
  • 3rd Place – “Practical Investigation into the Diffusion Bonding of 316L Stainless Steel with Boron Carbide,” Timothy DeFranco and Calvin Chandler, Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio)


Masters Category

  • 1st Place – “Optimization of Heat Release within a Dual-Mode Ramjet Using Ignition Delay Energy Source Terms,” Francis Centlivre, Wright State University (Dayton, Ohio)
  • 2nd Place – “Hypersonic Vehicle Conceptual Design Tools Assessment,” James Wnek, Wright State University (Dayton, Ohio)
  • 3rd Place – “Comparison and Uncertainty Quantification of Roof Pressure Measurements in the NIST and TPU Aerodynamic Databases,” Erick Shelley, Erin Hubbard, and Wei Zhang, Cleveland State University (Cleveland, Ohio)


Team Category

  • 1st Place – “Optimization of a Lenz Style VAWT Geometry Utilizing CFD and Genetic Algorithms,” Dylan Habig, Timothy Mayer, Trevor Ransbury, Brandon Frymire, Luke McClung, and James Canino, Trine University (Angola, Ind.)
  • 2nd Place – “Using Classical Control Theory to Optimize Cooldown Phase Propellent Flow Rate for a Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engine,” David Giancola, Angel Eng, James Midkiff, Jeff Simko, and Joanna Valentas, Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio)
  • 3rd Place – “Investigation of Flow Control for a Piston Positive Expulsion Bipropellant Tank,” Raghav Bhagwat, Joseph Januszewski, Chris Petrilla, and John Horack, Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio)


Region IV Winners

Undergraduate Category

  • 1st Place – “Design, Analysis, and Manufacture of a Vacuum Pump Sound-Dampening Enclosure,” Connor Goodman and Joseph Hernandez-McCloskey, University of Texas at San Antonio (San Antonio, Texas)
  • 2nd Place – “Topological Optimization and Generative Design of Drone Structures (A research project to promote a new aerospace educational industry in underdeveloped countries),” Sofia Gutierrez and Juan Ocampo, Saint Mary’s University (San Antonio, Texas)
  • 3rd Place – “Experimental Evaluation of 14-Inch to 20-Inch Diameter Propellers at Low Reynolds Number Operation,” Austin Rouser, Brock Rouser, and Kurt Rouser, Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, Okla.)


Masters Category

  • 1st Place – “Thermodynamic analysis of nitric oxide in an optically accessible, temperature-controlled gas cell via laser absorption spectroscopy,” Benjamin Steavenson, Joseph Hernandez-McCloskey, and Daniel Pineda, University of Texas at San Antonio (San Antonio, Texas)
  • 2nd Place – “Deep neural network for measurements in a non-uniform flowfield using single line-of-sight laser absorption spectroscopy,” Kyle Fetter, Joseph Hernandez-McCloskey, and Daniel Pineda, University of Texas at San Antonio (San Antonio, Texas)
  • 3rd Place – “Effects of Surface Roughness on Shock-Wave/Boundary-Layer Interaction using a Hollow Flare Cylinder Model,” Matt Garcia and Christopher Combs, University of Texas at San Antonio (San Antonio, Texas)


Team Category

  • 1st Place – “Design of the UTSA High-Enthalpy Shock Tube Facility,” Joseph Hernandez-McCloskey, Benjamin Steavenson, Andrew Alexander, Shelby Franklin, and Carson Bush, University of Texas at San Antonio (San Antonio, Texas)
  • 2nd Place – “Engine Redesign and Integration of Rocket Assisted Take-Off on a Small, High-Speed Unmanned Aircraft,” Jeremy Barton, Mahayla Mitchell, Devin Bishop, Tevin James, Mason Jernigan, Callahan Morris, Chase Wilson, Ben Sanford, Romain Bailey, and Cooper Degner, Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, Okla.)
  • 3rd Place – “Stratospheric Conductivity Balloon Campaign With Accessible Payload Design,” Alexandra Ulinski, Rachel Nathan, Andy Nguyencuu, Carlos Salas, Elizabeth Hernandez, and Edgar Bering, University of Houston (Houston, Texas)


Region V Winners

Undergraduate Category

  • 1st Place – “Experimental Verification of the USAFA 1-DOF Dynamic Stability Characterization Capability and Future 3-DOF Cross Coupling Enhancements,” Molly Ellinger, Jacob Szymanski, and Casey Fagley, United States Air Force Academy (Air Force Academy, Colo.)
  • 2nd Place – “Typical Section Models for Body Freedom Flutter,” Nicholas Hawley and Samuel Stanton, United States Air Force Academy (Air Force Academy, Colo.)
  • 3rd Place – “Circular Restricted Three Body Problem for Lunar Position, Navigation, and Timing System,” Kaitlyn Roberts and Lt Col Nathan Collins, United States Air Force Academy (Air Force Academy, Colo.)


Masters Category

  • 1st Place – “A Multi-Agent UAS Path-finding Algorithm for Unmanned Traffic Management Operations,” Justin Nguyen and Mujahid Abdulrahim, University of Missouri–Kansas City (Kansas City, Mo.)
  • 2nd Place – “Development of Multi-Mission UAS Design Optimization and Prototyping Architectures,” Austin Stark, Alan Cordon, and Mujahid Abdulrahim, University of Missouri–Kansas City (Kansas City, Mo.)
  • 3rd Place – “Tip Shape, Height, and Thickness Influences on Nonlinear Acoustic Damping from Baffle Blades,” Joseph Day and J. Matt Quinlan, University of Colorado Colorado Springs (Colorado Springs, Colo.)


Team Category

  • 1st Place – “Design of Large-Scale 3D Printed Components for UAV Cargo Transport,” Cody Watson, Caroline Dixon, and Nate Kuczun, University of Colorado Boulder (Boulder, Colo.)
  • 2nd Place – “Open Source Evaluation of the Performance Capabilities of the Chengdu J-20 Fighter Future Propulsion System,” Jacob Ellison, Molly Ellinger, Ryan Chen, Joseph McCaffrey, Gavin Ross, Alicia Kwasny, Saif Dabash, Emily Huber, Shane Lindsay, Isaac Monson, and Connor Wiese, United States Air Force Academy (Air Force Academy, Colo.)
  • 3rd Place – “CubIST: CubeSat Integrated Star Tracker,” Chesney Boal, Natalie Link, Cameron Humphreys, Chava Friedman, Nicolena Weber, Quaid Garton, Matthew Gedrich, Chad Pflieger, Maria Callas, and Josephine Johnson, University of Colorado Boulder (Boulder, Colo.)


Region VI Winners

High School Category

  • 1st Place – “Computational Fluid Dynamics For a Solar Car,” Lucien Freemesser and Hai Lin Truman, Raisbeck Aviation High School (Tukwila, Wash.)
  • 2nd Place Tie – “Creating an Alpha Indicator for a Schweizer 2-33,” Canaan Cortes, Mother of Divine Grace High School (Ojai, Calif.)
  • 2nd Place Tie – “Synthesis and Applications of Flash Joule Heating Graphene for Manufacturing in Space,” Andrew Lusk and Joseph Whitesell, Calvary Chapel High School (Santa Ana, Calif.)


Undergraduate Category

  • 1st Place – “Thermal Analysis of Boron/PVDF and Boron Carbide/PVDF Mixtures,” Moussa Coulibaly and Joseph Kalman, California State University, Long Beach (Long Beach, Calif.)
  • 2nd Place – “Processing of High-Speed Video Data for Rotating Detonation Engines,” David Menn, University of Washington (Seattle, Wash.)
  • 3rd Place – “An Empirical Study of Baffle Impact on Diffusive Fuel/Oxidizer Mixing with Simulant Gases,” Carter Vu, University of Washington (Seattle, Wash.)


Masters Category

  • 1st Place – “Modification of Supersonic to Hypersonic Wind Tunnel by Sizing Heater for High Enthalpy Conditions,” Justin Slavick and Nandeesh Hiremath, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)


Team Category

  • 1st Place – “Design of a Lunar Architecture for Tree Traversal in Service of Cabled Exploration (LATTICE),” Kaila Comibra, Calle Junker, Lucas Pabarcious, Malcolm Tisdale, Jedidiah Alindogan, Robert Daigle, Nathan Ng, Parul Singh, Tomás Wexler, and Soon-Jo Chung, California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • 2nd Place – “Water Impact of Rigid Biconic Geometries: An Experimental Investigation into Space Capsule Splashdown Events,” Vihan Krishnan, Kirin Peterson, Pinhua Guo, and Mahmood Alfayoumi, University of Southern California (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • 3rd Place Tie – “Characterization of Additively Manufactured Fuel Grains for Hybrid Rocket Applications,” Jacob Davies, Lance Mayhue, and Jenna Matus, University of Southern California (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • 3rd Place Tie – “Harvesting Thermal Energy from Frictional Braking by using a Thermoelectric Medium,” Victoria Malarczyk, Cade Hermeston, Will Soiland, Joseph Weissig, and Luke Wilson, University of Southern California (Los Angeles, Calif.)


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


About AIAA

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, or follow AIAA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

SpaceRef staff editor.