Purdue team advances to American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics national student paper conference

July 24, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - For the second consecutive year, a Purdue University team has won the team division of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Region III student research paper conference.

The Purdue contingent, composed of Pedram Motevalli, Matthew Prall, Demetrios Katsaduros and Jacob Varney, now has the opportunity to present their research paper, "Estimating Landing and Take-off Cycle Parameters Using MATLAB," at the national AIAA conference in January 2015.

The AIAA-sponsored competition, held April 4-5 in Cleveland, judges undergraduate and graduate students on the technical content and communication skills shown in both papers and formal presentations. While only the top teams compete nationally, the top three teams in all divisions receive a monetary prize.

Noah Salas and Brian Wenzel represented Purdue as a team in the undergraduate division and took second place for their research paper, "A Comparison of Airport Operations Estimates for Non-Towered Airports from Two FAA Sources."

Mary E. Johnson, a professor and assistant department head for graduate studies and research in the Department of Aviation Technology at Purdue, worked as a mentor with both teams and was excited by how they fared in the final results.

"The research papers presented by these students reflect work they have done with me on the cutting-edge projects addressing grand challenges in aviation sustainability and accessibility," Johnson said.

Each successful team from the past two years also has included participants in the Discovery Park Undergraduate Internship (DURI) program, which is led by the Discovery Learning Research Center. Prall, Salas, Wenzel and Katsaduros, all have been DURI students.

"With the DURI program at Purdue, students from across campus have the opportunity to contribute their knowledge in multidisciplinary projects," said DURI project coordinator Lisa Kirkham. "Discovery Park is proud to be able to provide their interns with such an incredible experience." 

Although AIAA provides travel, registration and hotel expenses for only one student from a team, both members of last year's winning regional team were able to attend the 2013 AIAA national conference.

"Last year's winning regional team of Matthew Prall and Demetrios Katsaduros was very energized by attending the national AIAA conference in Washington, D.C., presenting to this level of audience and receiving feedback from attendees," Johnson said. "The experience was invaluable for these two students - from their perspectives and from mine."

Led by the Discovery Learning Research Center, the DURI program is designed to involve Purdue undergraduates in the interdisciplinary research environment of Discovery Park. The program provides opportunities for students to work with faculty on cutting-edge research projects that involve combining two or more disciplinary strengths such as nanotechnology, life sciences, information technology, business, communications and other areas. 

Writers: Emily Sigg, 765-494-4719, esigg@purdue.edu

Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu 

Sources: Mary E. Johnson, 765-494-1064, mejohnson@purdue.edu

Lisa Kirkham, 765-494-2424, lkirkham@purdue.edu

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