My group at Georgia Tech strives to:
Welcome people from all nationalities, backgrounds, and identities
Provide everyone with a supportive environment for developing professionally and personally
Keep a growth mindset: success is the result of sustained effort, embracing challenges, persisting through failure, and seeking feedback
Build a collaborative environment where everyone shares knowledge with each other
Broaden participation in engineering by recognizing our privileges and using them to lift others
If you are interested in joining and these values resonate with you, please continue reading.
Prospective group members are expected to be interested in topics related to aeroelasticity and structural dynamics and share our values.
Prospective undergraduate researchers who are already familiar with aeroelasticity and structural dynamics are especially welcome. However, prior exposure to these topics is not necessarily a prerequisite for being considered for undergraduate research in our group.
Prospective graduate students are expected to have some fundamentals in aeroelasticity and/or structural dynamics to be considered for our group. While we are open to considering students from all backgrounds, we will prioritize students who have the most relevant coursework and research experiences (ideally both).
Beyond previous knowledge, the potential for growth and commitment to learning will also play a strong role in selecting new group members.
All group members conduct some form of computational research, so experience with coding or willingness to learn very quickly is expected. We code in Python, C++, Fortran, and/or MATLAB (knowing one programming language is enough to pick up other languages quickly).
Experience with finite element and aeroelastic analysis, especially using Nastran, is welcome but not expected.
Some tools and resources we use are listed here. Long-term group members should use some (LaTeX for writing, Git for version control, etc.).
Additional expectations on various topics are below. Most of this is oriented toward Ph.D. students but some of it applies to all group members:
Independence and work ethic: I monitor everyone's research and academic progress closely and am happy to provide very hands-on guidance. While some students are natural self-starters, I believe everyone can succeed and excel if they put in the effort. I am aware that the path to success and excellence is different for everyone and I will try to adapt my mentoring to individual needs as much as possible. However, I do expect all students to consider their education and research as full-time jobs and to take ownership of their projects while they pursue their degrees.
Working hours: I don't enforce specific working hours or locations but I do expect students to be responsible for their academic and research progress and to attend meetings, giving enough notice in case we need to reschedule. I expect students to respond to non-urgent emails or Teams requests within one business day. If we are running up against a deadline I expect a faster response (within 1-2 business hours), but we will have an upfront communication about this.
Group meetings: For Spring 2023, we are holding biweekly group meetings that revolve around professional development topics and practice presentations for talks. Long-term group members pursuing a Ph.D. are expected to attend group meetings to build a community and learn from each other. Shorter-term group members are very welcome but not expected to attend. In the future, I expect we will move to weekly group meetings with more focus on research updates by group members (we have not done this so far because everyone was too new). However, I still plan to have some sessions dedicated to professional development.
Individual meetings: I meet with everyone at least weekly and am always happy to find additional time in my schedule when we need more frequent interactions. I am also more or less always available on Teams for quick questions or chats.
Publishing: Every Ph.D. journey is unique, so I don't have a fixed number of publications I expect students to produce. However, I encourage students to publish regularly. First, sharing our discoveries with the community is a way to advance our field. Second, publishing allows us to collect feedback, which leads to new ideas and higher-quality work. Third, attending conferences and publishing papers can help students secure their next position. Last but not least, the ability to communicate complex information concisely and clearly is a critical skill for any post-graduation career. For these and other reasons, I recommend students plan at least one publication per year after their first year. I am aware that not all students will have published before joining and I will guide them through the process.
Funding: I don't expect students to bring their own funding and bringing funding does not automatically guarantee acceptance into the group. This said, I strongly encourage students to identify and apply for any funding opportunities they may be eligible for, such as fellowships, travel grants, and student awards, among others. I'll support students in their applications and point out relevant opportunities I am aware of.
Career goals: I don't expect my students to want to stay in academia (I didn't want to be a Professor when I was a student). While I can provide first-hand advice on how to pursue a faculty career, I will do my best to support students interested in other career paths (and students who don't know what they want to do yet).
How to reach out
Thank you for your interest. Below are some instructions on how to reach out:
Please reach out via email (not social media!)
Mention who you are and what you are looking for (Ph.D. position, undergraduate research, etc.)
If you are reaching out for a research opportunity
Describe your background and attach your CV (unless I know you well already)
Describe your interests in structural dynamics and/or aeroelasticity
Remember to mention your tentative start date and time commitment
Remember to mention if you are looking for a funded position
Before sending me an email, please note:
I do not distance-advise U.G., M.S., or Ph.D. students from other institutions (that is, I only advise students at GT)
I cannot direct admit a student to my group (that is, all students must apply to one of our programs to be considered)
I am not currently responding to inquiries about opportunities for Fall 2024 (it is too early to say whether there will be any opportunities!)
If you follow the instructions above, I will reply within 1-2 weeks (usually less) unless it is a particularly busy time.
I may not reply if:
We talked very recently and I have already said that I cannot offer an opportunity in the near future
The email addresses me inappropriately ("Hey Cristina", "Dear Madam", "Dear Sir", or other unprofessional salutations)
The email could have been sent to any group at any institution (that is, it does not even mention Georgia Tech or my research area)
The email only mentions an interest in being funded but does not provide any details about the student's background and interests
The email gets my research area wrong (that is, it is likely a copy-pasted email)
Additional information specific to undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and visiting scholars can be found below.
Additional information about the GT AE programs, how to apply, and deadlines are below:
We can host visiting students from other institutions, but they are expected to have their own funding (more in the dedicated section below).
Unfortunately, we may not always be able to accommodate all those who reach out, regardless of fit and qualifications, due to a large number of requests.
Status: we are considering students interested in starting in Fall 2023.
If you would like to learn about research opportunities, please reach out via email to arrange a meeting. I am happy to meet in person or virtually.
Funding: we are currently unable to offer paid undergraduate research opportunities but we can work with interested students to help them apply for salary awards under the Georgia Tech PURA program. Please make sure you reach out early enough if you would like to apply for this.
You are not expected to have taken AE 4220 – Structural Dynamics and Aeroelasticity before starting research in our group, though I would recommend it. The class will give you fundamentals in this area and help you understand if it aligns with your interests. It will also help us understand if there is a good advisor-advisee fit.
You are not expected to have done undergraduate research before.
How undergraduate research works in my group: I will give you a list of potential topics. You are welcome to pick a topic from the list or propose other topics (within reason). Once we have agreed on a topic, I will outline the activities for the semester and give you materials to get started. I meet with undergraduate students every week for 30 min unless we agree to skip. Most of the meeting is about discussing research, but I often use some time to talk about topics such as classes and job opportunities. I also involve undergraduate researchers in experiences such as meetings with other students or collaborators, preparing papers, and so on. I am happy to support students interested in multiple semesters of research (for instance, to qualify for our B.S./M.S. program).
I am happy to provide feedback on application materials to current or prospective group members interested in applying for scholarships.
M.S. and Ph.D. applications for Spring 2024 will be due October 1, 2023
We are at full capacity for AE 8900 projects for Summer 2023, but we are considering students for Fall 2023
Funding: most funded opportunities are for Ph.D. students, though funding for M.S. students may occasionally be available.
If you are a prospective graduate student interested in our group, you should first apply to the GT AE graduate program. You are encouraged to list Aeroelasticity and Structural Dynamics as your primary research area and me as a faculty member you would like to work with.
Due to the high volume of requests, I am unable to meet with prospective graduate students before the application deadline or provide advice on preparing the application. However, you are welcome to send me an email to let me know of your interest and intention to apply. I will look for your application if it passes the initial screening.
Please note that a student must be assessed as admittable to our program by the admission committee before I can consider offering a funded research opportunity (GRA position). I cannot offer funded positions to students who have not applied to one of our programs or who have been determined to be not admittable.
Please note that I am unable to offer graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs) to prospective graduate students, as these are administered by the graduate program Chair. I can offer a limited number of graduate research assistantships (GRAs) per admission cycle, depending on the current availability of funds.
You can find information about applying here (M.S.) and here (Ph.D.).
The deadline to apply for full consideration for the next admission cycle is October 1, 2023. The review of applications is underway.
If you are a current GT AE graduating senior or graduate student interested in our group, feel free to reach out via email to inquire about potential opportunities.
AE 8900 projects
If you are a current GT AE graduate student interested in conducting your AE 8900 project in our group, you must:
Have taken AE 6230 - Structural Dynamics and/or AE 4220 - Structural Dynamics and Aeroelasticity (or equivalent classes at other institutions)
Be comfortable with either theoretical or computational work (ideally both)
I will not be able to accept students who don't meet these requirements (without these prerequisites, I will not be able to define a meaningful research project that can be carried out during a semester due to the lack of fundamental background). Graduate students with experience in both structural dynamics and aeroelasticity (as opposed to structural dynamics only) will receive priority consideration.
AE 8900 projects are assigned on a rolling basis until we reach maximum capacity. I recommend you reach out well before the beginning of the semester in which you plan to take AE 8900 to make sure we have room for a project for you.
How AE 8900 graduate research works in my group: research will work as described for undergraduate students who take undergraduate research for credit. The difference will be in the complexity of the research project.
How M.S. or Ph.D. research works in my group: depending on the funding source, students may or not have a pre-assigned project. If the position is funded by a sponsored project, the research scope will be defined. While I am happy to leave students free to pursue their own research directions, this will be possible only as long as the project goals and deadlines are met. If a student brings their own funding (e.g., fellowship), there is flexibility from my side regarding the research scope and timeline, as long as the research topic is in my area of expertise and interest. We will make a multi-year plan and a shorter-term plan for the following few months. This will help us keep track of the big picture while making steps toward completing the degree. I meet with graduate students every week for one hour unless we agree to skip. Most of the meeting time is dedicated to discussing research, but I often use some time to talk about academics or career-development topics.
Virtual workshop about applying for and choosing Ph.D. programs
Best practices for reading scientific papers (e.g., of potential advisors)
Graduate fellowship opportunities:
DOD National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program
Johns Hopkins Database of Graduate Student Funding Opportunities
National Academies List of Graduate Student Funding Opportunities
National Academies List of Graduate Student Funding Opportunities (continues)
I am happy to provide feedback on application materials to current or prospective group members interested in fellowship opportunities.
Status: we are open to considering postdoctoral researchers as long as they have their own funding.
Funding: we are currently unable to offer funded positions for postdoctoral researchers. If you are interested in joining our group, check the funding opportunities below.
If you are a recent/soon-to-be Ph.D. graduate or postdoctoral researcher interested in our group, please reach out via email to discuss potential future opportunities.
How postdoc research works in my group: postdoc research will work as described above for Ph.D. students (though we do not have funding for postdocs at this stage). The main difference will be in the complexity and length of the research project. I will do my best to help postdocs secure their next positions. The academic job search is very fresh in my mind, but I am also supportive of postdocs interested in other career paths.
Virtual workshop about applying for and transitioning to faculty positions
Best practices for applying for faculty positions in the U.S. and Canada
My Twitter thread on resources to apply for faculty positions
Postdoctoral fellowship opportunities:
Johns Hopkins Database of Early Career Researchers Funding Opportunities
I am happy to work with postdocs interested in joining our group to help them secure funding.
Status: we are not hosting visiting scholars for the remainder of 2023. Please check back for additional availability.
Funding: visiting scholars are expected to have their own funding.
We are only open to hosting visiting scholars who can come to Georgia Tech (no virtual visits). If you are interested in this option, you are welcome to reach out via email to discuss potential topics of mutual interest that you could work on with us.
How research as a visiting scholar works in my group: research will work as described for undergraduate and graduate students above, but the complexity of the research project will vary depending on the visitor's career stage (M.S. student, Ph.D. student, etc.) and length of the visit.
Note for international visitors: we are not involved in the paperwork to obtain visas and we cannot help with resolving visa-related issues or delays. You should keep this in mind when planning to visit, depending on your time constraints (dissertation defenses, graduation dates, etc.).
Note for all visitors: we are not able to provide on-campus housing for visitors. You are expected to take care of housing and travel arrangements.
Status: we are currently unable to accommodate high-school researchers.