Aerospace Engineering Graduate Student Receives Prestigious Amelia Earhart Fellowship

Aslihan Vuruskan, a PhD student in Aerospace Engineering, has received a prestigious 2017 Amelia Earhart Fellowship from Zonta International Foundation. Aslihan is one of the 35 recipients of this award from all over the world in 2017, which is given to women of any nationality pursuing a Ph.D./doctoral degree who demonstrate a superior academic record in the field of aerospace-related sciences or aerospace-related engineering.

Ms. Vuruskan’s PhD research focuses on robust aerodynamic shape optimization by using advanced numerical methods on high-performance computers and funded by NASA. Aslihan performs her research in Aerospace Simulations Laboratory at the MAE department under the guidance of her PhD advisor, Dr. Serhat Hosder.  Aerodynamic shape optimization of wings for drag reduction is critical as it increases the performance of the aircraft by reducing the fuel consumption. This has a huge impact on operational cost for airline companies and the emission of greenhouse gases. Current design optimization is typically performed at fixed flight conditions, without considering the variation and uncertainty in operational parameters. The objective of Aslihan’s research is to design an aerodynamic configuration, which will keep its optimum performance under varying conditions such as the speed of aircraft. In her project, Aslihan has been using high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools, gradient-based optimization algorithms, and efficient uncertainty quantification methods based on stochastic expansions on high performance computers. Her initial studies have focused on optimization of airfoil shapes. Her current and future work include three-dimensional robust aerodynamic shape optimization of airplane wings at transonic conditions.

More information on the Amelia Earhart fellowship, the list of 2017 fellows and their bios can be found on the fellowship website According to this website, the Amelia Earhart Fellowship was established in 1938 in honor of famed pilot and Zontian, Amelia Earhart. The US$10,000 Fellowship is awarded annually to 35 women pursuing Ph.D./doctoral degrees in aerospace-related sciences or aerospace-related engineering. Previous recipients of this award include fellows, who have gone on to become astronauts, aerospace engineers, astronomers, professors, geologists, business owners, heads of companies, even Secretary of the US Air Force in their careers.