Siddarth Kaki, an aerospace engineering senior, and Adarsh Patra, an aerospace engineering alumnus (B.S. ASE ’17), are recipients of the highly competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships (GRFP). The GRF program recruits high-potential, early-career scientists and engineers and supports their graduate research training in STEM fields. Only 2,000 awards were offered from a pool over more than 12,000 applications. The award provides three years of financial support, which includes a $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution.

Siddarth Kaki

Siddarth Kaki photoSiddarth Kaki has been involved with research as an undergraduate since his freshman year when he began working with associate professor Todd Humphreys on autonomous aerial swarm robotics. He has worked on various projects over the years, including a software mediation layer for collision avoidance, quadcopter assembly and hardware integration, controller implementation, characterization of the radio environment during quadcopter flight, precise-GNSS implementation on quadcopters, and human-machine interface development.

He is currently pursuing an undergraduate honors thesis advised by Humphreys and professor Maruthi Akella. Kaki’s thesis research involves applying computer vision and machine learning techniques to detect changes in the real world with respect to a priori globally-referenced, centimeter-accurate 3D maps. He plans to attend graduate school at UT Austin under the advisement of Akella.

"I am deeply humbled and excited for receiving the prestigious NSF Graduate Fellowship. I would like to thank all my mentors and advisors over the years for making all my endeavors possible,” Kaki said. “I would also like to express my gratitude to my family and friends who have stood by me through rain and shine. I am eagerly looking forward to coming back to UT as a graduate student! The tremendous opportunities made available to me at UT as an undergraduate student have definitely played a pivotal role in my success. Hook 'em!"

Adarsh Patra

Adarsh Patra photoWhile a student at UT Austin, Adarsh Patra, B.S. ASE 2017, worked as an undergraduate research assistant to professor Noel Clemens at the J. J. Pickle Research Campus. His research focused on a NASA funded project to study Orion’s heat shield ablation processes by recreating atmospheric reentry conditions using the newly installed inductively coupled plasma torch. He helped with construction of the torch control panel, design of the LabVIEW torch control system, instrumentation, running heat shield sample tests and data analysis. 

Patra is a first-year graduate research assistant at Purdue University in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics Ph.D. program where he is working on printable nanothermites and high-nitrogen materials and their application to microthrusters with Dr. Steven Son’s energetics group at Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories.