News Story

Aerospace Engineering Students and Alumni Receive NSF Fellowships

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded aerospace engineering students Zachariah Brown and Brian Free, and alumni Andrew Mills (B.S. '15) NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who pursue research-based Master's and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.

Zach BrownBrown is a senior Aerospace Engineering Honors student. He is a member of the RISE Leadership Academy, current Vice-President of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) student chapter and has served as a teaching fellow for numerous courses in the Clark School. During his sophomore year, Brown received an Undergraduate Summer Research Grant to research combustion phenomena in a miniature supersonic burner at Texas A&M University under the mentorship of Dr. Adonios Karpetis.

For the last two years, as part of his Aerospace Honors Research, Brown has been researching a superconducting magnet system for a helicon plasma thruster in the Space Power and Propulsion Lab under Assistant Professor Raymond Sedwick. Brown plans to continue researching electric propulsion technologies in the Aerospace Engineering Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor next year with the long term goal of researching and developing the electric propulsion systems that will allow human space-travel to Mars and beyond.

Brian FreeFree is working on his Ph.D. in the Collective Dynamics and Controls Lab under Professor Derek Paley. He earned his B.S in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland in 2015, graduating summa cum laude with departmental honors. His research interests are in the areas of underwater locomotion of robotic vehicles and bioinspired sensing that includes artificial lateral lines (mimicking those found in fish) and vestibular systems. His long-term research goal is to create a fully autonomous robotic fish capable of navigating through underwater flow structures using bioinspired sensors.

Mills (B.S. '15) is currently a master's student at the University of Colorado Boulder studying aerospace engineering with an emphasis on flight dynamics and controls. During his time at Maryland, he was an Aerospace Engineering Honors student, a member of Tau Beta Pi (the Engineering Honors Society), Theta Tau and an AIAA senior liaison.  

UMD was one of only five schools whose aerospace engineering departments had two or more NSF Fellow recipients. Those schools included Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Purdue University and Clarkson University.   

Published April 18, 2016