Published: July 26, 2018

Congratulations to eight University of Colorado Boulder aerospace graduate students for being named to the 2018 Draper Fellow Program. The Draper Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for students to benefit from not only immersion in their university’s academic research environment, but also from Draper’s facilities, collective knowledge and experience. The 2018 CU Boulder honorees are among 32 students being recognized nationwide:

  • Aastha Acharya
  • Katya Arquilla
  • Scott Carnahan
  • Jordan Dixon
  • Jonathan Manni
  • Marielle M. Pellegrino
  • Evan Roelke
  • Kirsten Strandjord

Honorees work closely with Draper technical staff to develop state-of-the-art technologies in world-class laboratories, and their scholarly outputs often go beyond top-tier journal papers and conference presentations to include prototypes, testbeds and field implementations. Each Draper Fellow conducts research under the supervision of both a university faculty advisor and a Draper supervisor in an area of mutual interest. CU Boulder is one of only six universities with 2018 winning students.

2018 CU Boulder Fellow Bios

Aastha Acharya

Advisors: Nisar Ahmed and Tomoko Matsuo

She grew up in Kathmandu, Nepal and Branford, Connecticut and received her undergraduate degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering, and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, from Cornell University. She currently works at Lockheed Martin. In graduate school, Aastha plans to continue working toward advancement of autonomous systems and increasing trust in them to enable their widespread use for aerospace and other applications.

Katya Arquilla

Advisor: Allie Anderson

She grew up in Monterey, California and received her undergraduate degree in astrophysics at Rice University. For her Ph.D., Katya plans on developing wearable sensor systems and processing the data from them to quantify the connection between physiological signals and psychological state. This technology will lead to earlier and more accurate diagnoses of mental illnesses such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for a wide range of patient populations.

Scott Carnahan

Advisor: Hanspeter Schaub

He grew up in Lincoln, Illinois and received his undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from Auburn University. In graduate school, Scott plans to investigate the use of GPS hardware and software for autonomous formation flying of satellites in deep space.

Jordan Dixon

Advisor: Torin Clark

He grew up in Littleton, Colorado and received his undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Kansas. In graduate school, Jordan plans to continue to study the health effects associated with spaceflight and assistive devices that can compensate for impairments such as vertigo.

Jonathan Manni

Advisors: Jay McMahon and Nisar Ahmed

He grew up in Canton, Michigan and received his undergraduate degree in electrical and computer engineering from Calvin College. As a Ph.D. student, Jonathan’s focus is to advance research in autonomous robotics and space exploration.

Marielle Pellegrino

Advisor: Daniel Scheeres

She grew up in Boca Raton, Florida and received her undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Florida. Marielle is studying solar radiation pressure and chaotic regions emanating from the sun and moon to address debris mitigation at medium and high altitude orbits.

Evan Roelke

Advisor: Bobby Braun

He grew up in Morristown, New Jersey and received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Brown University. Evan is focusing on entry, descent and landing (EDL) systems during his graduate career.

Kirsten Strandjord

Advisor: Penina Axelrad

She received a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics with an astrodynamics specialization from Purdue. She has studied the very stable clocks on board the latest GPS IIF satellites and proposed an improved prediction of GPS satellite clock variations based on their daily repeatability.