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2018-19 Aerospace Engineering Centennial Scholarship Fund Award Recipients

Congratulations to our 2018-19 recipients of the Aerospace Engineering Centennial Scholarship Fund award!

Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the Aerospace Engineering Centennial Scholarship Fund award! This scholarship, awarded in conjunction with the College of Engineering, is given to aerospace engineering majors based on academic merit and their application to the College’s Need and Merit award. Each of the following students has received $2,000 toward their tuition for the fall and winter term. We are proud to announce the following students as the recipients of this prestigious award:

Alexander Cucos

Alexander is a sophomore from Ann Arbor, Michigan majoring in Aerospace Engineering. He is interested in unmanned space systems, rotor-wing dynamics, and composite materials. Last year he co-founded Michigan Vertical Flight Technology (MVFT), an organization working on designing and flying a manned Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft, where he is currently the structures lead. He is working with a similar team at Purdue to start an intercollegiate competition dedicated to developing near-future commercial VTOL technology. Alexander is also an active member of the University of Michigan chapter of AIAA, and enjoys flying in his spare time. Alexander plans to continue his education through graduate school, and hopes to one day work at JPL contributing to future robotic spacecraft.

Derek Lukacs

Derek is a senior completing a major in Aerospace Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. He is the founder of Michigan Hyperloop engineering design team and worked on the Hyperloop project at the University of Michigan for over 2 years. He has previously worked at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale California where conducted flight test failure root cause analysis. As a member of the Autonomous Aerospace Systems Lab at the University of Michigan Derek wrote flight software and conducted flight tests of multi-quadrotor flight systems. He will be beginning his MSE in Aerospace Engineering through the SUGS program in the Winter of 2019 with a plan to focus on Flight Dynamics and Controls. After completion of the master’s degree he plans to work in aerial autonomy in the aerospace industry.

Khanh Ngo

Khanh is a sophomore studying Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Materials Science Engineering.  She became interested in studying aerospace engineering after visiting the National Air and Space Museum and watching the movie, The Martian. She is interested in the design and construction of spacecraft and satellites.  After completing her undergraduate education, she plans on earning a Masters Degree.  On campus, she is involved in Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Women in Science and Engineering Residence Program (WISE RP) as a returning mentor. 

Harry Sood

Harry is a junior from Memphis, Tennessee studying Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science. This is his second year being part of M-Fly, a student aero design team that competes in the SAE Aero Design and AUVSI SUAS competitions, and his first serving as the team’s Business Lead. Over the last few months, Harry has been conducting research on systems of autonomous vehicles at the University of Michigan with Professor Jean-Baptiste Jeannin. He hopes to enter research and development in the autonomous vehicle industry after completing his education. Harry also intends to pursue a graduate degree in an engineering field following his undergraduate degree.

Matthew Szczerba

Matthew Szczerba is an undergraduate senior from Grand Blanc, Michigan studying aerospace engineering. He wants to work on spacecraft missions, especially in space exploration and civil development. While at the University of Michigan, Matthew has been an active member of Professor James Cutler’s Michigan eXploration Laboratory where he has led the Strato high-altitude balloon project for the past two years and assisted with the creation of the lab’s CubeSats. During the summers, he has worked as a peer advisor for the Engineering Advising Center, studied abroad in Toulouse France, and worked as an engineering intern at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in Poway, California. After graduation, Matthew is hoping to pursue a terminal master’s degree in aerospace engineering or robotics. Matthew is unsure of his preferred sub-field at the moment, but has interests in the fields of mechanical design, systems, integration and test, and dynamics and controls.

Kara Vanderwest

Kara is a sophomore from Western Michigan majoring in Aerospace Engineering and pursuing a Computer Science minor. She is interested primarily in space systems and computer modeling. She is a member of AIAA and a very active member of MASA helping them design, build, and test the first successful liquid engine rocket at the 2018 Spaceport America Cup. Kara plans on pursuing a Ph.D. after her undergraduate degree.

Nick VanDyke

Nicholas is a senior in Aerospace Engineering from South Lyon, Michigan. As a child, he fell in love with Star Wars which led him to want to design and build air and space vehicles. His interests are in the areas of aeroelasticity, fluid-structure interaction, and hypersonics. He has spent the last two summers interning at Northrop Grumman working on structural design and analysis. Between classes, Nicholas enjoys playing the carillons in the bell towers on North and Central campus. After graduation, he plans to continue his education by pursuing a master’s degree in aerospace engineering.   

Laura Zaidenberg

Laura Zaidenberg is an undergraduate sophomore from Miami, Florida studying aerospace engineering. She is currently interested in spacecraft and propulsion. Laura works as an undergraduate researcher at Professor Myron Campbell’s Laboratory, where she is running Kinematic Cut analysis for the KOTO project. This last summer, she went to work on the project on site, at the Japan Proton Accelerator Complex. Laura is also a member of UofM’s student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and of Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics (WAA). After graduation, Laura hopes to pursue a master’s degree in aerospace engineering.  


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