Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Recipients


The Aerospace Engineering & Mechanics department is pleased to introduce Ashley Bucsek and Robyn Macdonald as recipients of the prestigious President's Postdoctoral Fellowship. These two individuals have shown potential to bring their research and teaching the perspective that comes from their educational background and understanding of the experiences of groups historically underrepresented in higher education. Dr. Ashley Bucsek has begun her work with AEM under Professor James, and Dr. Robyn Macdonald will begin with the department under Professor Candler and Professor Schwartzentruber in August.

President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

The University of Minnesota joined the University of California Partnership for Faculty Diversity in order to invite outstanding scholars interested in faculty and research careers. The University offers postdoctoral fellowship opportunities, faculty mentoring, professional development, and academic networking opportunities in the various disciplines at the university.

Prime applicants are those whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to the diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity in higher education and at the University. The fellowship is designed to provide new scholars of all academic disciplines an opportunity to become more competitive candidates for tenure-track faculty appointments. Review committees evaluate applicants in all fields according to their potential for success in an academic career with special consideration given to potential for contributions to the diversity and equal opportunity as described in their evaluation, selection and eligibility criteria.

The Recipients

Ashley Bucsek smiling

Ashley Bucsek
B.S. Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wyoming
M.S. Mechanical Engineering,
Colorado School of Mines
Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering,
Colorado School of Mines

Dissertation Title: Elucidating deformation mechanisms in shape memory alloys using 3D X-ray diffraction

Dissertation Advisor: Aaron Stebner

"I'm interested in materials that are able to change their properties in response to an external stimuli. These "functional' or "smart" materials are often metals or ceramics that undergo a phase transformation from one type of internal structure to another type. When two structures have different sets of properties, the material can switch back and forth from one structure to another in response to the external stimuli. Specifically, I am interested in observing these micromechanical responses with three-dimensional (3D) characterization tools, such as X-ray diffraction, and using it to inform micromechanical modeling and fabrication. My PhD thesis entailed advancing different 3D X-ray diffraction techniques specifically for advanced materials and using these advancements to better understand shape memory alloys (materials that can switch between "shapes"). My postdoc work involves designing a ferroelectric material that switches from a material that makes a bad capacitor to a material that makes a good capacitor, and integrating this material into an energy harvesting device that can convert heat to electricity."

UMN PPFP Mentor: Richard James

"My future goals are to obtain a tenure-track faculty position, establish a successful laboratory, and continue to teach and mentor students considering careers in engineering-related fields."


Dissertation Title: Maximum-Entropy Quasi-Classical Trajectory Method Applied to Nonequilibrium Nitrogen Flows (tentative)

Dissertation Advisor: Marco Panesi


"My research interests are in the field of high speed chemically reacting flows. In this type of flow field many different physical phenomena (e.g. chemistry, radiation, turbulence) occur and accurate flow calculations require accurate models for these phenomena. My dissertation research focused on the development of a reduced order model for chemistry based on quantum chemistry calculations. The objective of this work was to help bridge the knowledge gap between the field of quantum chemistry and computational fluid dynamics. During my tenure as PPFP fellow I will continue my work on developing computationally tractable models for complex physical phenomena in high speed flows."


UMN PPFP Mentors: Graham Candler and Thomas Schwartzentruber

"My primary career goal is to become a professor. For me, the appeal of a faculty position is the ability to work on the problems that I am interested in and to continue to learn and discover new things throughout my career."

Robyn Macdonald smiling

Robyn Macdonald
B.S. Aerospace Engineering.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ph.D. Aerospace Engineering, (Dec. 2018)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Department of Aerospace Engineering & Mechanics congratulates Ashley Bucsek and Robyn Macdonald in receiving the President's Postdoctoral Fellowship and wishes them the best of luck in their research.

More information regarding the President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program can be found on the University of Minnesota Faculty & Academic Affairs' website.

Last Modified: 2018-06-19 at 08:08:06 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation