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Amelia Earhart Fellows - University of Maryland

January 13, 2016

Reaching for the Stars: A Panel discussion with 2015 Amelia Earhart Fellowship Recipients from the University of Maryland, Aerospace Engineering program.

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Camli Badrya, Elena Shrestha, and Elaine Petro were dinner guests at our January 2016 dinner honoring Amelia Earhart. Each gave a presentation on their current projects. Club member Mary Bazargan, who has been a member of Zonta International for over 42 years, poses with them after their presentation.

The bios for the 2015 Fellows from the University of Maryland are below. These were obtained from the Zonta International website which provides bios on all the 2015 Amelia Earhart Fellows.

Camli Badrya, Citizenship: Israel
Ms. Badrya is conducting a numerical investigation of insect flight at low Reynolds numbers, focusing on developing fundamental understanding of how small insects fly and how this knowledge can be utilized to formulate design principles for a micro-flapping-wing aircraft. Engineers are focusing on the flight of insects because they fly in the same aerodynamic regime as insects and small birds, to learn underlying aerodynamic principles. Ms. Badrya's Ph.D. program will investigate the aerodynamic phenomena governing insect flight using computational fluid dynamics. Ms. Badrya enjoys physical activities such as yoga, running and hiking, and is interested in history, art, poetry and politics.

Elena Shrestha, Citizenship: Nepal
Ms. Shrestha's research is focused on miniaturizing flight-capable cycloidal rotor-based micro air vehicles (cyclocopters) to the weight of 20 grams and improving the overall vehicle design, control and gust tolerance capabilities. Micro air vehicles (MAVs) can be used for reconnaissance and search-and-rescue operations. Cyclocopters offer high maneuverability, high-speed forward flight and gust tolerance needed for these types of missions. The cyclorotor blades constitute the largest component of the cyclocopters. Ms. Shrestha is working on designing cyclorotor blades that are lightweight and structurally robust with a high strength-to-weight ratio. To improve cyclocopter stability and controllability, she is developing a comprehensive flight dynamics model and investigating gyroscopic and controlscouplings that impact vehicle dynamics. The flight dynamics model will enable quantification of the maneuverability and gust rejection capability of the cyclocopters and establish a framework for comparison with MAV platforms. In her spare time, Ms. Shrestha enjoys mentoring K-12 and undergraduate students.

Elaine Petro, Citizenship: USA
Ms. Petro is studying a type of electric propulsion system that uses a traveling electromagnetic wave interacting with a current sheet to maintain a strong force on plasma moving along an axis. This type of electric propulsion device is called the helicon thruster. Helicon plasma generators create denser plasma than traditional ion sources and they can use wider range of propellants including water vapor. Helicon thrusters are attractive for outer solar system missions because they can harvest water vapor for refueling during the mission. Ms. Petro will design and test a helicon thruster that uses water vapor as propellant. She will model the performance of a stand-alone helicon thruster using water vapor, and compare it with traditional propellants, such as argon and xenon. She will use her model tocalculate thruster performance metrics that will then be verified experimentally. Ms. Petro will also investigate the performance gains that can be realized with a secondary ion acceleration stage. She will design and build an acceleration stage that uses an ion cyclotron heating to energize ions with resonant waves for a small-scale water vapor thruster. She will then evaluate the performance of the helicon thruster with and without the secondary stage with a laboratory prototype. This will be the first time this concept will be studied for helicon and refuelable thrusters. Ms Petro organizes and leads skiing trips, is involved in STEM outreach activities and works as a volunteer at an animal rescue center.