Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarships

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George Jacobellis

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

How did you get interested in vertical flight?

"I first became interested in aerospace engineering when I was very young. I was fascinated by the power and speed of fighter jets, and I wondered why we didn’t have things like flying cars or jetpacks. I received my Bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Texas Austin, all the while becoming more intrigued by the engineering that shapes aircraft, and also the phenomena that occur as they interact with the air, such as shocks and vortices. I continued with the Aerospace engineering program at UT for a Master’s degree. As I learned more about different types of aircraft and the missions that they were designed for, I developed a strong interest in modern aircraft design. I became especially interested in VTOL aircraft, as I believe that they will play a large role in the future of aviation, and there are still many important challenges in designing them that have yet to be overcome. Also while at RPI, I took leadership roles as president of the AHS student chapter and captain of a team in the AHS student design competition. This competition was a fun way to explore the field of high speed vertical flight beyond my research. My team won 3rd place, which was very rewarding."

What impact has receiving the VFF scholarship had for you?

"The VFF scholarship was very important to me, it was a big help to me in securing funding from the SMART scholarship program to finish my Ph.D. degree. I am very proud that I can put this on my resume for the rest of my life. I am very grateful to my professor, Dr. Farhan Gandhi, for his guidance. Dr. Gandhi helped be by nominating me for a smaller award, the RPI founder’s award, and mentoring me in the AHS student design competition. Winning these awards was a big plus on my application for the VFF scholarship."

What are some of your current projects or research interests?

"I am currently a full time Ph.D. student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and am researching coaxial rotors in high speed flight. I have published several conference papers related to this subject at AIAA and AHS conferences."

Tell us about your future plans.

"I am supported by the SMART fellowship, which also allows me to work summer internships at the Army Research Laboratory’s Vehicle Technology Directorate. I will also work there full time after graduation."

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