Portland State University
Bachelor of Science, June 2008
NASA Academy Research Project
Liquid Propellant Gauging in Low Gravity
NASA Principal Investigator: Dr. Neil T. Van Dresar
I’ve enjoyed classes in physics, mathematics, writing, art, and music. I chose to study mechanical engineering to express my creativity, use my technical and mathematical skills, continue to grow personally and professionally, and do positive and worthwhile work for humanity. I am interested in the thermal and fluids sciences and am passionate about applications to such fields as aerospace and renewable energy/energy efficiency.
I was blessed with a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the summer of 2005, made possible by the generous support of the Oregon Space Grant Consortium. That was one of the best summers of my life! It was such a creative and exciting environment, especially with Deep Impact and Return to Flight! I worked with the Solar System Visualization team, creating a method to georeference large amounts of data into a spatially referenced database (GIS), for mapping landing sites (such as Phoenix) on Mars. At the end of the summer I presented my results in the form of a tutorial, technical report, and presentation. This experience was the catalyst for my decision to pursue a career in research.
For the past two years I have been working as a mechanical engineering intern at Cascade Energy Engineering, an energy engineering consulting firm in Portland that specializes in industrial refrigeration energy efficiency. In this position I have performed energy savings calculations, system modeling and analysis (for compressors, condensers, evaporators, pumps, fans, battery chargers and lighting), technical report writing, onsite commissioning and data logging, and have created computer tools and macros in Excel and VBA.
I’ve also had the privilege to participate in the Johnson Space Center’s Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program. Our team designed, fabricated and flew an experiment aboard NASA’s reduced-gravity aircraft to study the passive separation of two-phase flow. We succeeded in separating the flow by utilizing specific fluid properties and the geometry of the test cells. It was rewarding using my creative and technical skills to complete the whole process, from conception and design analysis to fabrication, testing, data analysis and presentation of results.
I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Academy at Glenn, and I give my sincere thanks to my mentor Dr. Neil Van Dresar.
In my free time I love being outdoors. I’ve volunteered for the Oregon Food Bank, Festival of Trees, and Free Geek computer education and recycling center. I also enjoy music, dancing, art, therapeutic massage, star gazing, skydiving and writing.