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USLI Rocket Team












Team Members


Dr. William Garrard

Team Official

William Garrard is a Fellow of AIAA. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering and his PhD in Engineering
Mechanics from the University of Texas at Austin. Garrard’s research is dynamics and control of aerospace vehicles and parachute systems. He is the author of over 100 technical
publications in these areas. He is currently Professor and
was Head of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Minnesota for 15 years.
Garrard is Director of the NASA Minnesota Space Grant
Consortium. He represented AIAA on the Engineering
Accreditation Commission of ABET for five years. He
received the Educational Award for Excellence from the U.S. Army, a Certificate of Appreciation from the AIAA for
organizing, coordinating and conducting the H.G. Heinrich Parachute Systems Short Courses from 1982 through 1998, and the ASEE/AIAA John Leland Atwood Award in 2006 for advancing the discipline of aerospace engineering through effective and creative research and consulting and for distinguished leadership in the development of enhanced programs of instruction and research. He has served as a Member AIAA Aerodynamic Decelerator Technical Committee, the AIAA Guidance and Control Technical Committee, and the SAE Aerospace Control and Guidance Systems Committee, and is past Chair of AIAA Academic Affairs Committee.


Gary Stroick

NAR/TRA Team Mentor

Gary Stroick has been involved in high powered rocketry since 1998 and is certified Level 3 with the Tripoli Rocketry Association. He also holds a Low Explosives Import and User Permit. Currently a Board Member of Tripoli Minnesota he was Vice President from 2007 to 2011. As owner of Off We Go Rocketry he provides high power rocketry motors and supplies to high power rocketry enthusiasts across the Midwest as well as advises numerous fliers on various aspects of rocketry and certifications. Academically, Gary holds a MS in Computer Sciences, an MBA, and a BS in Mathematics as well as Computer Sciences.


Mark Abotossaway

Team Lead

Mark is a senior in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics. He is the only returning member from the 2011 – 2012 USLI team. He is Level 1 NAR certified and has been on multiple school rocket teams. He was the Team Lead for the 2011 – 2012 USLI Team and hopes to expand rocketry projects at the University of Minnesota. He was a Research Assistant for a payload to be flown on the High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) this summer, which will be detecting x-rays in the stratosphere. He is interested in experimental spacecraft propulsion system and hopes to work for NASA someday in the future.


Devin Volmer

Structural Lead

Devin is a senior in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics. His interests are broad, but he’s academically focused on the design and usages of structures within aerospace. Devin has experience working on design and manufacturing composite turbine blades for the student group Innovative Engineers and managing the schools 2012 Cansat team. Away from school, he enjoys reading, drawing, and a mixture of other flight related hobbies including rocketry. For the USLI competition, Devin will be responsible for managing the Structures Team and ensuring that the vehicles structures are safe to operate within the USLI flight envelope.


Tim Chau

Structures Team

Tim will be a junior in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics this year, after completing a bachelor’s degree in Physics at the University of Winnipeg. He will contribute to the structures team and payload team.

Shalom Raymond

Structures Team

Shalom Raymond is a senior Aerospace Enginner.  He is contributing to the construction of the rocket.


Nathan Kluegel

Recovery Lead

Nathan is a senior in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, with minors in Astrophysics and Management. He has an intense interest in aerospace vehicles, especially spacecraft, and has some experience with high altitude ballooning from working as a research assistant for the Minnesota Space Grant (MnSGC). For the USLI competition, he will be the recovery officer responsible for ensuring the proper deployment of the rocket's parachutes and the functionality of the on board tracking systems that will allow for the safe recovery of the vehicle after flight.


Greg Zeien

Recovery Team, Safety Officer

Greg is a freshman in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in biology. He has interests in systems
engineering and biomimicry in autonomous robots. For the USLI competition his responsibility will be
focusing on the hardware components of the recovery system and running simulations for parachute
descent scenarios. Due to changes in group structure, he has also taken on the responsibilites of Safety Officer.

Hannah Weiher

Payload Structural Lead

Hannah is a junior in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics and is expected to graduate in May 2014. She has a specific interest in astronautic systems and design. She has experience with high-altitude ballooning as well as the design of wind turbines. Her responsibility for the USLI competition will be focused on the payload aspect of the rocket.


Vishnuu Mallik

Payload Electronics Lead

Vishnuu is a junior in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics and is expected to graduate in May 2014. He is highly enthusiastic about space exploration systems and supersonic aircraft design. Vishnuu has experience working on high-altitude balloon payloads for the Minnesota Space Grant Consortium and is also a Research Assistant in the Interactive Guidance and Control Lab. For the USLI competition this year, he will be working on developing the rocket payload.


Matt Donahue

Payload Team

Matthew Donahue is a junior in Aerospace Engineering nad Mechanics and is expected to graduate in May 2014.  He is a research assistant at the Interactive Guidance and Control Laboratory and has gained valueable experience there.  He will be part of the payload team for the USLI competition.


Amir Ener

Financial Officer, Website

Amir is a senior in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, with a minor in Management and Astrophysics. His key intersts include control systems, structural design, and the business side of engineering. He has some been a lab aid for Minnesota Space Grant high altitude balooning project as well as Scenomics LLC as student intern.  For the USLI competition, he will be the financial officer responsible for all grant proposals and handling the finances, as well as handling the administrative duties of the student group and website.


Monique Hladun

Outreach Officer, Website

Monique is an Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics Graduate Student. Her study focuses are dynamics & control and fluid mechanics. She has been involved with the MnSGC High Altitude Ballooning Team for the past two years with working on several different projects.