Students

MAE Graduate Students Receive Prestigious Fellowships, Awards for Research in CFD, Heat Transfer and Human-Computer Interaction

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is excited to highlight the recent success of its graduate students, who have received numerous awards and fellowships in recognition of their outstanding research in computational fluid dynamics (CFD), AI and human-computer interaction and heat transfer and solar-thermal energy, respectively.

More information about each award and its recipients are below:

UC Davis Wins Moon Challenge at First Nations Rocketry Competition

On a wet and windy Sunday in Kansasville, Wisconsin this April, the First Nations Rocketry team at UC Davis launched and recovered a high-powered rocket and won the First Nations Launch High-Powered Rocket Competition moon challenge for the second year in a row.

EcoCAR EV Challenge Marks a New Era for UC Davis Engineering

Over the next four years, UC Davis students will be designing the car of the future as part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s EcoCAR Electric Vehicle (EV) Challenge. The competition challenges students to convert a Cadillac LYRIQ EV into an autonomous, next-generation battery-electric vehicle with vehicle-to-everything connectivity so it can interact with devices and the environment.

Aerospace Engineering Major Patricia Paje Named VFS 2022 DiversiFlite Scholar

Paje is an inaugural recipient of the Vertical Flight Society scholarship, which supports promising engineering students interested in vertical flight at U.S.-recognized minority-serving institutions and sends them to the VFS annual forum. Paje is a first-generation college student and recently participated in an internship with electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft pioneer Wisk Aero, LLC.

Space Research Takes the Stage

The Main Theatre at Wright Hall this month became the unlikely site of an experiment on technology that could eventually go into space.

Students in the Center for Spaceflight Research at UC Davis are working on technologies for a class of satellites that could inspect other spacecraft, such as the International Space Station, in collaboration with NASA. But up in space, the light is harshly bright with no atmosphere to attenuate the sunshine, and the technology must be configured for that environment.

Morgan Harris: Building a Healthier World with Prosthetics

Second-year Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering M.S. student Morgan Harris wants to be on the front lines of building a healthier community. Through her research on prosthetic devices and her dream of opening her own prosthetics and orthotics clinic, she wants to improve people’s lives while offering the same type of mentorship and outreach experiences that inspired her.

M.S. student Emily Jonsson wins MSEC Best Poster Award

Mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) M.S. student Emily Jonsson won the Organizing Committee Best Poster award this summer at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference (MSEC). Her winning poster, “Wafer Experiments to Assess Machining Distortion in Aluminum,” outlined her research on understanding and predicting stresses in aluminum with her advisors, Barbara Linke and Mike Hill.

Daniela Barajas Ivey: A chemical engineer in aerospace

The best piece of advice M.S. student Daniela Barajas Ivey received as she earned her B.S. in chemical engineering at UC Davis was, “chemical engineering can be found in all disciplines.” She took this to heart and after joining the aerospace industry, she returned to UC Davis as a master’s student to study environmental control and life support systems (ECLSS) for human habitats in deep space.

Student Spotlight: Sicheng (Kevin) Li

Fourth-year mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) Ph.D. student Sicheng (Kevin) Li is making a major impact on aerospace engineering and in the UC Davis community through his cutting-edge research on rotorcraft noise and his leadership and mentorship on campus.

Valeria La Saponara’s Lab wins UC Davis Lab Safety Award

Professor Valeria La Saponara’s lab recently received the College of Engineering Lab Safety Award from UC Davis Safety Services, naming it the best lab in the College of Engineering in terms of safety. The awards recognize labs with a strong safety emphasis who are doing their part to think safe, act safe and be safe.

Ph.D. students Sicheng (Kevin) Li and Jared Sagaga win VFF Fellowships for rotorcraft noise research

Mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) Ph.D. students Kevin Li and Jared Sagaga were awarded Vertical Flight Foundation (VFF) Fellowships in recognition of their experience, academics and research motivation. Every year, the fellowship recognizes and supports top M.S. and Ph.D. students around the world who are working on rotorcraft and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft technology.

MAE Alumni Challenge Donors for Give Day 2021

UC Davis Give Day 2021, campus’ fifth annual fundraising event is this weekend, from Friday April 16 at 12 p.m. to Saturday April 17 at 5 p.m. and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) is looking for support.

Graduate student team develops COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans for Northern California

As the FDA approves COVID-19 vaccines for use, distribution to hospitals and vaccination sites will become the next challenge in fighting the pandemic. As part of their “Optimization-Based Control” (MAE 298) course, a group of mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) graduate students were inspired to help and developed efficient vaccine distribution plans for the Bay Area and Sacramento using three different types of delivery vehicles.

Student Spotlight: Midori Huapaya-Renbarger

Fourth-year mechanical engineering major Midori Huapaya-Renbarger has made research a key part of her college experience. As a member of a lab that combines healthcare and robotics, she’s worked to help people using technology, while developing her technical skills and building a strong foundation for a career in industry.

Ph.D. student Leslie Simms receives NSF Fellowship

Second-year mechanical and aerospace engineering Ph.D. student Leslie Simms has received a three-year National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. The fellowship program recognizes and supports 2000 outstanding graduate students across the U.S. every year. The award covers three years of tuition and researcher salary.

The program, which was founded in 1951, is the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind. In almost 70 years, the fellowship has supported 42 future Nobel laureates and over 450 members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Student Spotlight: Ruby Zoom Houchens

Second-year mechanical engineering major Ruby Zoom Houchens takes every opportunity in stride. From working in professor Stephen Robinson’s lab, to serving as a shop tech and photographer, to being involved with multiple campus organizations, she brings a unique and well-rounded approach to engineering that’s already made her a staple of the College of Engineering.

Ph.D student Dane Sterbentz receives prestigious Department of Energy fellowship

Third-year mechanical and aerospace engineering Ph.D. student Dane Sterbentz is a recipient of the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration’s Laboratory Residency Graduate Fellowship (DOE NNSA LRGF). Sterbentz, part of professor J.P. Delplanque’s research group, is one of just four doctoral students across the country to receive the fellowship.

Becoming a community leader by philanthropy

By Trevor Stewart

Hope is a powerful emotion –– it can get us through tough times, it can help us persevere trials and tribulations until we reach our goal. Third-year mechanical engineering student Martin Vega-Martinez ‘20 is the perfect embodiment of what hope, combined with hard work, looks like.

Ph.D. student Peng Wei wins 2019 N&M Sarigul-Klijn Flight Research/Space Engineering Award

Ph.D. student Peng Wei has been named the recipient of the 2019 N&M Sarigul-Klijn Flight Research/Space Engineering Award. The award is given every other year to top graduate students in the UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering pursuing flight-related research.

Wei, a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Assistant Professor Zhaodan Kong’s lab, studies aerodynamic effects on multirotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), colloquially known as drones.

Student Spotlight: Shail Trivedi

Originally posted on the UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship website.

Making electric vehicles, autonomous fleets ubiquitous

Shail Trivedi is a third-year mechanical engineering student who hopes to work with mechatronics/robotic systems or mechanical design of devices. “I love to learn,” he says, “and I find myself curious to learn more about the types of roles mechanical engineers play in today’s world and where I can best find my fit.”

MAE Energy Startup Wins Big at 2019 Big Ideas Contest

UC Davis mechanical and aerospace engineering startup, RePurpose Energy, won big at the 2019 Big Ideas contest, taking home first place in the Energy and Resources category and winning grand prize at the competition’s Pitch Day.

Students Design Greenhouse for Mars

A student team from the UC Davis Space and Satellite Systems Club was one of five university teams invited to present their plans for a Mars greenhouse at the NASA Langley Research Center.

COSMOS Aims to Inspire Future Scientists, Engineers

The California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) is a four-week statewide program for the most talented high-school students in the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Aerospace Engineers Explore Infinity and Beyond

As a UC Davis aerospace science and engineering major, you will learn core mechanical engineering concepts and applications, and practice computational analysis. You’ll also learn the fundamentals of design, propulsion and aerodynamics.

MAE Senior Design Teams Win NASA’s Aeronautics University Design Challenge

Three UC Davis mechanical and aerospace engineering senior design teams received top honors in NASA’s 2017-18 Aeronautics University Design Challenge. One MAE team tied for first, another placed second and another tied for third. The fifteen undergraduates involved presented their designs at a symposium on September 20 at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. and were treated to a private tour of the facilities and the Capitol building.