AEM Ph.D. Candidates Awarded the John and Jane Dunning Copper Fellowship

The Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics is proud to announce that Ali Fakhreddine, Thomas Gross, and Nicholas Morse are the recipients of the 2018-2019 John and Jane Dunning Copper Fellowship for passing the Doctoral Written Preliminary Examination.

John and Jane Copper established the fellowship in order to recognize the University of Minnesota’s contribution to preparing John for a successful career. In 1957, John graduated with an Aeronautical Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota. He worked at McDonnell Douglas, a major American aerospace manufacturing corporation and defense contractor, for 35 years. The John and Jane Dunning Copper Fellowship is used to acknowledge students who possess an outstanding academic record and show promise after completing their WPE’s.

Ali Fakhreddine is an international student who received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon last spring. He moved to Minneapolis to work on his research in Computational Fluid Dynamics and Multiphase Flows. He is currently working on a phenomenon known as Cavitation, which he explains as “the formation of vapor bubbles or clouds in a liquid due to a significant drop in pressure in one or more regions of the flow.”

“Cavitating flows fall under the umbrella of compressible flows and hence compressible flow solvers are used to simulate cavitation. I intend to simulate cavitation by adding compressibility effects to an existing incompressible flow code used in our group instead of solving the full Navier-Stokes equations,” he said.

“The John and Jane Dunning Copper Fellowship means so much to me because I feel I have repaid my parents a small portion of what they were trying to provide in a country as unstable as Lebanon. Being awarded this esteemed fellowship gave me a sense of pride in myself, my home institution, and my country and I hope it is something I have provided in return.”

Thomas Gross received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona in 2016. After two years of working as a mechanical engineer he joined the Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics department here at the University of Minnesota in 2018 to pursue his Ph.D.

“I came to Minnesota to pursue my Ph.D. in the field of computational high temperature gas dynamics. The AEM department has a rich history in aeronautical engineering along with world class faculty in my selected field (as well as many other fields) and a very rigorous graduate program. The faculty and staff have been excellent and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to join the AEM Department hear the UMN.”

He works with Professor Schwartzentruber and his research will focus on developing molecular-level chemistry models for non-equilibrium gas physics relevant to hypersonic flight.

“Receiving this fellowship means a great deal to me as it is recognition of the time, effort and care that I have put into my education," he said. "I believe my performance on the preliminary exam is partly a testament to the quality of the teaching here in the AEM department. I am very grateful to John and Jane Dunning Copper for making this fellowship possible.” 

Nick Morse received his Bachelors of Science in Aerospace, Engineering, and Mechanics from the University of Minnesota in 2018. He now works with Professor Krishnan Mahesh on simulations of fluid flows around maneuvering marine vehicles using novel computational methods, which he developed in his lab.

“The AEM department is an amazing place to study as a graduate student. The department is very strong in different fields, so you gain a lot of perspectives as a graduate student in different areas of research. It was a great honor to receive the John and Jane Dunning Copper Fellowship, and I am eager to continue my studies in the AEM department along with my research with Professor Mahesh.”

The Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics department applauds these candidates and wishes them luck on their research and future endeavors.