National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Ephraim J. Chen

Ephraim J. ChenPrinceton University
Princeton, NJ

Aerospace Engineering
Bachelor of Science and Engineering, June 2009

NASA Academy Research Project
Hollow Cathode Development for the High Voltage
Hall Accelerator

Principal Investigator
Dr. Hani Kamhawi


My boyhood dreams were born from gazing at star-filled nighttime skies. I graduated from Mahopac High School in 2005 with great devotion to science, engineering and mathematics, and my passions revolved around spaceflight and space technology. I am going to be entering my fourth year at Princeton University, where I am studying in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

My academic interests currently center on orbital mechanics and space systems design. I am also interested in hypersonic flows and aerodynamics, with emphasis on their implications for air and space vehicle travel. Furthermore, I am studying optimization, dynamic programming, and information and operations engineering to contribute to a systems engineering perspective.


Outside of volunteer work at my local library, my work experience began with a summer 2004 internship at Daruma Asset Management in New York City, where I researched small-cap mutual fund strategies and updated financial statements. During the 2006 summer, I was an undergraduate research assistant at the Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University. While consulting with graduate students and technical staff, I worked on electronics and machining to assemble and troubleshoot components for a pulsed plasma thruster and developed experimental methods for test-firing.

In the summer of 2007, I worked in Material and Process Technology at The Boeing Company’s site in Seattle, WA. Test part fabrication was completed as part of the development of a new composite wing spar bonding process for the 787 commercial aircraft. I coordinated with and assisted different contractors and organizations within the 787 program, and had the privilege to take many tours and learn from colleagues about the modern aerospace industry and the workings of a major company. At the end of my internship, I delivered a presentation to executive managers of Material and Process Technology.

Extracurricular Activities

I am the Co-President of the Princeton chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. We plan and execute great events during the school year, including guest speakers, model rocket contests, movie showings, and field trips to local industry sites, museums, research facilities and other locations of interest to aerospace enthusiasts.

I also actively practice my Christian faith on campus. I am a Deacon at our University Chapel, serve on the communications team at Princeton Evangelical Fellowship, and am also involved in Manna Christian Fellowship. I also contribute to Revisions, a magazine of Christian intellectual thought, and sing in the Kindred Spirit a cappella group.

My interests in political thought and policy caused me to become a Junior Fellow at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, in the Department of Politics at Princeton, which provides a forum for discussion on American constitutional law and the application of legal and ethical principles to current issues.

In high school, I was Co-Editor of the news section of the school newspaper, played in the marching band, and was a member of the track and tennis teams.

My hobbies include reading, classical music, technical drawing, and racquet sports.