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Students Win Best Paper Awards

Andrew Fist and Dimitrios A. Kakavelakis III, of the UT Space Institute (UTSI), competed this year in the Masters Division of the 64th AIAA Southeastern Regional Conference and won first (Fist) and second (Kakavelakis) place awards. Their papers entitled “Improved Mean Flow Solution for Solid Rocket Motors,” by Fist and Majdalani, and “Nusselt Number Correlation for Cyclonically-Cooled Liquid Rocket Engines,” by Kakavelakis and Majdalani, mark an unprecedented four-year winning streak for Majdalani’s students. In the past four years, Majdalani’s team has competed with a total of seven papers in the Masters Division and placed first in 2011 – 2013, second in 2010, 2012, 2013, and third in 2010. The seven-out-of-seven award record is clearly representative of the remarkable performance of these graduate students and, arguably, the sheer originality of their research projects.

“The successes of our students and faculty speak very highly for the high quality of research and graduate education at the Institute,” said Robert Moore, Executive Director of UTSI. ”I am particularly impressed with the continuing successes from Majdalani’s program, which promotes name-recognition for the Institute at national and international levels.”

The 64th Annual Southeastern Regional Student Conference was held in Raleigh, NC, April 8 and 9, and hosted by North Carolina State University and the Student Branch of AIAA in Raleigh-Durham, NC. A total of 170 student delegates from 16 southeastern universities competed this year, an all-time high in the history of Region II. Participating universities included: Auburn, Embry Riddle Aeronautical, Florida Tech, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Tuskegee, Alabama (Huntsville and Tuscaloosa), Central Florida, Memphis, Miami, UT Space Institute, and Vanderbilt.

Fist, a Turbine Engine Test Manager at AEDC, is pursuing his graduate education in Aerospace Engineering. As the first place winner, he will receive an AIAA supported trip to participate in next year’s international student competition, which will be held in January as part of SciTech’14, in conjunction with the 52nd Aerospace Sciences Meeting in Maryland. Fist is from Dayton, OH with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dayton. Kakavelakis is from Albuquerque, NM, and is pursuing an MS degree in Engineering Science. He holds a BS degree in Pure Mathematics from Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, GA.