Skip to content

UTSI Graduate Students Win Presentation Competition

The University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) held its 2nd annual “Susan and Jimmy Wu Student Presentation Competition,” on April 7th 2017. There were 14 graduate students participating in the competition, each giving a 10 minute presentation, followed by a 5 minute Q&A from observers and judges. The winners received travel awards. E. Lara Lash won the PhD category and received a $2,000 travel award. Charles Bond and Adam Harris tied in the Master’s category, each receiving a $500 travel award. The competition was an open forum, where the graduate students presented their research in a competition-based format.

E. Lara Lash’s presentation was entitled, “Schlieren Imaging of Cylinder-Induced Transitional Shock Wave-Boundary Layer Interaction.” Lash, of Northern Virginia, received her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Lafayette College and Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the UT Space Institute. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Aerospace Engineering from UTSI by characterizing the dynamic behavior of transitional shock wave/boundary layer interactions using experimental diagnostics under the direction of John Schmisseur. Lash plans to start a career in industry, preferably with the government, to contribute to the exploration of space and continue with experimental diagnostic research. Lash is a senator with the Student Government Association (SGA) and leading the effort of continued physical health for the students at UTSI as the Running Club President and Boat Club Vice-President. She is also the Resident Advisor of the UTSI dorms.

Charles Bond, of Tullahoma, Tennessee, entitled his presentation, “Pulsed Laser Deposition of Transparent Fluoride Glass.” Bond received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering from UTSI under the direction of Jacqueline Johnson. Bond is also a Student Senator in the SGA.

Adam Harris, of Clarksville, Tennessee, entitled his presentation, “Characterization of Acoustic Radiation Emanating from a Turbulent Mach 2 Boundary Layer.” Harris earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is currently a Graduate Research Assistant pursuing a Master degree in Aerospace Engineering at the UTSI under the direction of John Schmisseur. Harris is specializing in hypersonic flow phenomena with an emphasis on the instrumentation and diagnostic techniques that can be used to study it. He is a senator for the SGA. When Harris graduates, he plans to work for either the Air Force, NASA, or one of their respective contractors and continue to study hypersonic flow phenomena.

The competition was made possible by a generous donation from one of UTSI’s graduate alumni wishing to remain anonymous. The competition was open to all full- and part-time MS and PhD graduate students currently enrolled at UTSI. The objective to starting the competition was helping students develop presentation skills while learning about numerous fields of research. The judges, Stan Powel, William Baker and Taylor Swanson, also gave constructive feedback to each participant on their respective presentation and elements to sharpen their skills in becoming better presenters.

The competition was named after Susan and Jimmy Wu who were the first husband and wife team hired as faculty members of the UT Space Institute in 1965. During their more than fifty-five years of combined service to the UTSI and the aerospace community, they both contributed significantly with their academic, scientific and community accomplishments.