Session 1

Revanth Damerla is a 5th year PhD Candidate in Mechanical Engineering. His research is focused on bridging the gap in capability between human muscle and their robotic muscle counterparts. He is leveraging his robotic muscle designs to develop a prosthetic hand with the same capabilities as a human hand, addressing a critical user need for upper limb amputees. In his free time, Revanth enjoys playing sports, cooking, mentoring students, and developing other bio-inspired robots including a robotic bird and snake. 

Heiting Fu is a 2nd year Ph.D. candidate advised by Professor Kazuhiro Saitou. He currently focuses on manufacturability-driven topology optimization for computational engineering design. Recently, he presented his work on “Fully Coupled Thermal-Fluidic-Structural Topology Optimization of Conformal Fluid Channels for Thermal Management of Structures” at IMECE 2022. Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., Heting gained valuable experience working at Farasis Energy. Heting’s academic journey began with a B.S. in Engineering Mechanics and a minor in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He then obtained his M.Eng degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Through his work, he aims to develop computational methods that can assist human designers in various fields such as renewable energy and automotive design. 

Yuefeng Jin is a 2 nd year PhD candidate advised by Prof. Ashley Bucsek in Mechanical Engineering Department. Previously, she was an undergraduate student from the dual degree program held by University of Michigan – Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute (UM-SJTU JI), where she obtained B.S.E in both electrical and computer engineering (ECE) and mechanical engineering (ME). Currently, Yuefeng is mainly studying the mechanics of Ti-7Al using high-energy diffraction microscopy (HEDM). Besides, she is also working on improving the HEDM both in experiment procedure and data processing using machine learning methods. Aside from research studies, she enjoys cooking and baking. She hopes that someday, she could make contributions to the community with her own efforts.

Ellen Kim is a 4th year PhD student in the Smart Materials and Structures Design Lab. My research focus is on developing smart structures for advanced functionalities. Specifically, my dissertation is on a novel inflatable passive smart structure called tendon constrained inflatables, made of an inflatable bladder with rigid end caps connected by tendons such as strings or wire. The structure provides expansive deployment with inflation and compact stow through vacuum. When it is pressurized, it reacts to externally applied loads by demonstrating rigidity, deformity, and posability. My work is to predict, test, and design methods to provide these advanced functionalities and deploy-and-stow capability to enable engineers to build and use tendon constrained inflatables for applications. One potential impactful application is to use tendon constrained inflatables as mobility aids for activities of daily living such that it provides customized support to move and maintain a user’s body position.

Panagiota (Penny) Kitsopoulos received her B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH in 2020. She is currently a 3rd year Ph.D Candidate in the Karl Grosh lab. She is a Rackham Merit Fellow and an NIH Hearing, Balance, and Chemical Senses Predoctoral Trainee. She is the co-President of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion student and postdoc group (ME DEI Alliance) and the DEI officer in the Graduate Student Society of Women Engineers (GradSWE). Her research is focused on the development of a completely implantable auditory prosthesis for middle ear applications.

Dylan Kovacevich is a 3rd year PhD Candidate advised by Professor Bogdan-Ioan Popa. His research focuses on the development of active metamaterials as a scalable method for realizing complex acoustic devices.  Some works that he recently published on the subject are “Transformation acoustics with bulk media composed of polarized sources” and “Programmable bulk modulus in acoustic metamaterials composed of strongly interacting active cells.”  Dylan previously obtained his BS and MS at Rutgers University, where his work was recognized with the Research Excellence and Outstanding Master’s Student awards.

Elizabeth Livingston is a 4th year PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering advised by Professor Krishna Garikipati and Professor Alberto Figueroa. Liz’s research focuses on data-driven modeling of biological systems. This work spans a range of topics including biomechanics, numerical methods, and high performance computing. She previously received her BS and MS degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she studied the strength and microstructure of bone. In her spare time, she enjoys camping, climbing, playing soccer, video games, and spending time with her cats: Bumi and Zuko.

Session 2

Mike Mayer is a 4th year PhD candidate working with Professor Rohini Bala Chandran. His research focuses on radiative heat transfer in high-temperature systems with applications in renewable energy technology. Currently, he is working on developing experiments to understand the heat transfer behavior of flowing ceramic particles, which are a promising candidate material for next-generation concentrated solar power plants. Outside of research, Mike enjoys keeping up with his favorite team, the Chicago White Sox, and exploring the different bars and restaurants of Ann Arbor. Mike obtained his BS in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

Denislav Nikolov is a 3rd PhD candidate working with Prof. Jon Estrada in the ME department. I study mechanics of soft materials, 3D imaging acquisition via MRI and laser microscopy, and experimental optimization, with previous research experiences in the fields of bioelectronics, bone mechanics, and robotics. I also have research initiatives in STEM outreach and engineering education, with an ongoing study in implementing societal impact as a core component in fundamental engineering coursework. I’ve also made strides in my training in teaching, by becoming a GSI for several undergraduate classes in the ME department and enrolling in engineering education training through the CRLT. During my spare time, I enjoy going on runs along the Huron River, volunteering at the Huron Valley Humane Society, practicing guitar and piano, and looking after my cat, Oreo. After graduation, I hope to make a meaningful impact in the field of solid mechanics by becoming a professor.

Rachel Silcox is a 2nd year PhD Candidate under Rohini Bala Chandran. Her research focuses on creative electrochemical reactor design to improve mass transfer for the purpose of carbon capture. She has publications in ACS Catalysis and Chemical Engineering Science. She has previously earned her Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Valparaiso University in 2019 and taught statistics and environmental science at Pannasastra University of Cambodia as a Fulbright Fellow. 

Jenna Stolzman is a 2nd year PhD student in the Wooldridge Combustion Lab, under supervision of Professor Margaret Wooldridge. Her primary research focus is on designing and optimizing flare tips within the oil and gas industry for reducing pollutant emissions and translating the lab-scale technology to field-scale.

Vivian Tran is a 4th-year PhD candidate working with Prof. Anna Stefanopoulou and an ORISE fellow at the EPA. I study Li-ion battery safety by modeling the electrochemical, thermal, and mechanical behavior of batteries undergoing abuse and applying control methods to safely de-energize batteries for battery fire mitigation and re-ignition prevention. I also have research interests in modeling battery degradation and fleet electrification and work with school districts in Michigan to help quantify the impacts of electrifying their school buses with plans to leverage the data for STEM education. Outside of the office, I enjoy rock climbing and hiking, and with the warmer weather, I’m also looking forward to gardening with Ellen and enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Michael Wadas is a PhD student advised by Professor Eric Johnsen. His research explores the intersection of high-energy-density physics and fluid mechanics with applications in inertial confinement fusion and astrophysics, with a focus on the role of vortex structures that emerge following interactions between shock waves and fluid interfaces