Students Excel at AIAA Region II Conference

Florida Tech students won multiple top prizes at the AIAA Regional Student Conference hosted by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the spring.

Florida Tech sent 14 students and advisor Paula do Vale Pereira to the gathering of Region II schools, which is comprised of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Additionally, it includes students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The students attending were: freshmen Whitney Reinkoester, Jaxon Strank, Nathan Tardy and Victor Zaharia; sophomores Jesus Delgado, Beck Kerridge and Colin Zelasko; juniors Sidney Causey, Matthew House and Jacob Mesley; and seniors Emma Brackett, Nathan Cerletty, Christopher Mickel and Jacob Smith.

“The students presented their work exceptionally well and were awarded for that,” do Vale Pereira said.

  • 1st Place, Outstanding Branch Activity category: “Florida Tech Outreach,” Sidney Causey and Matthew House
  • 1st place, Open Topic category: “Ocean World Exploration Rover,” Beck Kerridge and Colin Zelasko
  • 2nd place, Open Topic category: “History of Spacecraft Fuel Sloshing,” Jesus Delgado

Florida Tech had two additional strong presentations on the Open Topic category: “Multi-Disciplinary Applications and Practicality of Solar Sails” from Jaxon Strank, Nathan Tardy and Victor Zaharia, and “The Future of Deep Space Flight Using Ion Propulsion” from Whitney Reinkoester.

The school also had a presentation in the Teams category: “BiPROP Rocket Competition Team” from Emma Brackett, Nathan Cerletty, Christopher Mickel and Jacob Smith.

Besides presenting their work and learning from other presentations, the students also made connections with professionals in the aerospace industry, toured the facilities of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and attended three keynote lectures, do Vale Pereira noted.

Travel expenses won’t be as substantial for AIAA’s 2024 Region II Student Conference: it will take place in Cocoa Beach, co-hosted by Florida Tech and the University of Florida.

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