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University of Colorado
College of Engineering & Applied Science
Aerospace Engineering Sciences
Department Update | Summer 2014
Alumni Profile: Gregg Jacobs
Gregg Jacobs (AeroEngr ’86, PhD ’91) serves as the head of the Ocean Modeling and Prediction Branch for the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and has become internationally recognized for his contributions in understanding and modeling global ocean dynamics. Using satellite altimeter data to model and monitor ocean circulation, Jacobs has developed powerful research tools with predictive accuracy which enable emergency responders to respond efficiently and appropriately. Through his innovative research, Jacobs has helped bring awareness and interest to changes in climate and weather. Recently, the NRL and the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) within the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration entered into a formal agreement that results in NCEP using the technology developed by Jacobs and the U.S. Navy to make environmental ocean forecasts for public use.

“This is an example of complementary missions across agencies that, through coordinated application, leads to protecting our service personnel who ensure the high seas are safe and protecting our resources and citizens at home,” Jacobs says.

Jacobs has won several awards and honors, including the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award and the Naval Research Laboratory’s 75th Anniversary Award. He was featured on the 1994 cover of Nature magazine, and his research on the impact of El Niño was mentioned as one of the top science discoveries of 1994 by Discover magazine.
Faculty Research: Mahmoud Hussein
Associate Professor Mahmoud Hussein and his research group are developing a new type of nanostructured material that promises to revolutionize the process of converting heat to electricity or vice versa. Called a “nanophononic metamaterial,” it can be made out of any semiconducting material. The key advantage is that, unlike all existing thermoelectric materials, it has features that allow the thermal conductivity to decouple from the electrical conductivity. Such decoupling could radically improve the efficiency of thermoelectric energy conversion. Learn more
Student Spotlight: Erin Overcash
Erin Overcash (AeroEngr ’14) has an incredible opportunity to represent her country in two uniforms: as a U.S. naval officer and as a USA Rugby Eagle. This August, she will compete for a spot on the USA Rugby Women’s National 15s Team to play in the 2016 Olympics (and the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup). After a long application process and personal interviews, Overcash was selected into the Navy World Class Athlete Program. Not only will she continue training and competing for the 2016 Olympics, she will also pursue her master’s degree in aerospace engineering through CU-Boulder's Engineering Anywhere program while living out her childhood dream of becoming a naval aviator. “I will miss Boulder, CU and the close relationship I’ve developed with the staff in the aerospace department in the last few years. I am proud to represent the Buffs in all of my future endeavors and will always be indebted to this department for such a wonderful education,” says Overcash.
Alumni Class Notes
James Gregory Mudge (AeroEngr ’84) has been an aerospace software engineer at Lockheed Martin since 2007. He and his wife, Karen, live in Denver near Cherry Creek. His daughter, Emily, is a senior in chemical engineering at CU-Boulder.

Paul R. Stern (AeroEngr ’87, MS AeroEngr ’88, PhD AeroEngr ’93)
is a Lockheed Martin Fellow, Chief Architect Space Ground Solutions - LM IS&GS Defense and Intelligence Solutions.

Craig Davis (Aero ’88) has been named chief financial officer at BPV Capital Management. Previously, Davis served as CEO and Managing Principal of GSD Growth Partners, providing consulting services to startup businesses, and he held a number of senior positions at Proctor & Gamble, Broyhill Furniture Company and the MasterCraft Boat Company. Davis began his professional career in the United States Air Force where he served as the Air Force Systems Command. He also holds an MBA from Ohio State University and is a certified management accountant.

Davie Mayfield (AeroEngr ’96)
is working to provide experimental and computational-based aerodynamics data for the NASA Orion program and several other Lockheed Martin-led efforts.

Chris Muldrow (AeroEngr ’03, MS EngrMgmt ’10)
has taken a position in Lockheed Martin’s business development organization as a capture process lead. For the last couple of years he supported the Orion program as a software systems engineer. Muldrow and his family moved from Aurora to Highlands Ranch in late 2012.

Ryan Olds (AeroEngr ’04, MS AeroEngr ’09)
works as a design and controls engineer for the NASA OSIRIS-REx mission, slated for launch in 2016. He previously served as a design and controls engineer for NASA’s GRAIL mission, a lunar orbiting mission designed to measure the gravity field of the Moon.

Chris Cloutier (BS/MS AeroEngr ’06)
works for Lockheed Martin as chief project engineer for the Orion Star Tracker Cover Mechanism and also supports mechanism verification efforts for the upcoming EFT-1 launch. Last year he led the successful ground jettison testing for the Orion Fairing and Forward Bay Cover. (Click the links to see cool videos of these tests!)

Sean O'Dell (MS AeroEngr ’07)
is the proud father of a 1-year-old son. He has worked at Lockheed Martin on the Orion program since graduation in 2007 and received a Lockheed Martin NOVA award in 2012.

Daniel Baca (MS AeroEngr ’07)
was recently made the fault detection, isolation and recovery lead for the European Service Module on Lockheed Martin's Orion mission. He recently was named Great Minds of STEM's Most Promising Engineer with an Advanced Degree.

> Send us your updates for the next edition of Class Notes!
Note from the Chair, Penny Axelrad

We are delighted to report the success of the first CU-Boulder AeroSpace Ventures Day held in April on the Boulder campus. During the morning “Innovation Session,” more than 60 aerospace industry representatives from 28 companies met with 22 university researchers to learn about cutting-edge technology developments.

In the afternoon, more than 180 engineering students attended the AeroSpace Ventures Career Fair and met with the industry representatives to discuss internships and job opportunities.  

In addition, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden unexpectedly attended our AES Student Projects Symposium. Both undergraduate and graduate students discussed their projects with him and other guests from industry and government agencies.  Bolden was excited to see what our department is
doing for the future
of space research.


Our outstanding faculty, students and staff conduct cutting-edge research, engage in exciting projects and serve the profession and the community in ways that continue to distinguish the AES department. In addition to the recent recognitions noted below, the MinXSS CubeSat (student team led by professors Xinlin Li and Scott Palo) was selected for funding by NSF and a flight opportunity by NASA.  This month the undergraduate project known as “Deployable Greenhouse for Food Production” (Advisor: Senior Instructor Joe Tanner) was selected for the 2015 Exploration Habitat Academic Innovation Challenge, one of only five projects selected nationally.

Please visit our website to keep up with the latest department news and events.  Drop by this summer for a visit—we would
love to see you!
Or, send us an email!

Honors & Awards

Lanny Pinchuk, Honorary Doctorate at May 9 Commencement


Nisar Ahmed, 2014 Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Program
Xinzhao Chu, promoted to full professor
Mahmoud Hussein, promoted to associate professor
Delores Knipp, 2013 Editor’s Citation for Excellence for Eos, AGU
Hanspeter Schaub, “Outstanding Young Alumni,” Texas A&M Aerospace Alumni Academy
Trudy Schwartz
, Marinus Smith Award, CU Parents Association


Sarah Melssen, AES Employee Recognition Award in March 2014
Joanie Wiesman’s photo of courting eagles, selected to be the cover photo of the 2015 Birds of Prey Calendar
Claire Yang, Outstanding Staff Award, College of Engineering and Applied Science


Jonathan Aziz, NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship
Trevor Bennett, Kiirchiro DeLuca and Andrew Dahir, NSF Fellowships
Lauren Blum, invited to MIT’s 2014 Women in Aerospace Symposium
Holly Borowski, Amelia Earhart Fellowship
Kevin Dinkel, May 2014 Outstanding Graduate for Research Award, College of Engineering and  Applied Science
Christine Fanchiang, Philanthropic Educational Organization Scholarship
Elise Kowalski, Jeppesen Scholarship
Ryan McGranaaghan and Hong Zhao, Los Alamos National Laboratory Vela Fellowships
Alan Smith, Chateaubriand Fellowship                  
Luis Zea, German Academic Exchange Service Scholarship
Collin Bezrouk, Geimi Delarge, Christine Fanchiang, Roger Huang, Karla Rosario, Megan Scheele and Eric Threet (Advisor:  Professor David Klaus), selected as finalists in the Mars Society’s ‘Inspiration Mars Student Design Contest’ for their proposal, “Mars Approach Vehicle and Earth Return for Interplanetary Crew (MAVERIC)”


Chris Nie
and Leonard Komow of ODINSun senior project, third place, team category, AIAA Region V Student Conference

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