2021 MMAE Student Research Competition and Departmental Awards



By Simon Morrow

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Diagram showing three steps of tracking and spoofing: 1. aircraft tracking "tracking aircraft introduces error" 2. construct false GPS signal 3. broadcast false GPS signal.

The Department of Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering (MMAE) at Illinois Institute of Technology held its annual Student Research Poster Competition on March 26, 2021, as a virtual event. Twenty-seven MMAE students, representing all degree levels, presented posters in the competition displaying the research work they have completed. Separate panels judged the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate students’ posters. The judges included members from the MMAE External Advisory Board plus representatives from academia and industry. The department awarded a certificate and monetary prize to top-scoring presenters from each academic level. Also, the MMAE department presented departmental student awards to the best teaching assistant and research assistant and recognized faculty for their contributions to research and teaching. 

The MMAE 2020-21 distinguished alumnus, Michael Buonanno (AE ’01), who is currently a Lockheed-Martin Fellow presented an exciting seminar on the development of supersonic civil transport which was attended by nearly 100 participants. He was awarded the MMAE Distinguished Alumni (2020-21) plaque.

Congratulations to the following winners:


First Place—Sydney Kaplan (ME 5th Year) and  Professor Matthew Spenko—"A computer vision algorithm for tracking leaves from a UAV"

Second Place—Megan Burrill (MSE 5th Year) and Professor Leon Shaw—“Synthesis and fabrication of high ionic conducting NaSICON-polymer membrane” 


First Place—Andressa Prado (M.S. MSE) and Shaw—"Next-generation Li-ion batteries: Let’s crack that problem!"


First Place—Birendra Kujur (Ph.D. MAE Candidate) and Professor Boris Pervan—"A solution separation monitor using INS for detecting GNSS spoofing"

Second Place—Declan Mulroy (Ph.D. MAE Candidate) and Associate Professor Ankit Srivastava—"Control strategies for a boundary constrained soft robot"

Third Place—I-Ting Ho (Ph.D. MSE Candidate) and Professor Sammy Tin—"Microstructure and properties of IN718 processed by selective laser melting with CoAl2O4 inoculant"


Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award—Chen Tang (Ph.D. MAE Candidate)

Outstanding Research Assistant Award—George Kim (Ph.D. MSE Candidate)

Fear Fellowship Award—Vignyatha Reddy Tatagari (M.S. MSE)


2021 MMAE Excellence in Teaching Award— Senior Lecturer John Cesarone

2021 MMAE Excellence in Research Award—Assistant Professor Wei Chen


2021 MMAE Distinguished Alumni Award—Michael Buonanno

Image: Diagram of tracking and spoofing process from Birendra Kujur