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.
All prospective group members
Share our values
Have a strong work ethic
Be able to program in at least one language
Be interested in topics related to aeroelasticity and structural dynamics
Some tools and resources we use in our group are listed here.
Prospective undergraduate researchers
Have taken AE 3530 System Dynamics and Vibration
Commit to at least one academic year of research (excluding summer)
Prospective undergraduate researchers who are familiar with aeroelasticity and structural dynamics are especially welcome (having taken AE 4220 Structural Dynamics and Aeroelasticity with me is a plus). However, we are open to considering undergraduate students without prior exposure to these topics as long as they are highly motivated and committed to learning (unless we have reached maximum capacity).
Prospective graduate researchers
Have mastered undergraduate courses in system dynamics and vibration, structural analysis, aerodynamics
Have some fundamentals in aeroelasticity and/or structural dynamics (without necessarily having taken courses in these topics)
While we are open to considering students from all backgrounds, we will prioritize those who have engaged with coursework and research experiences that align with our work, as demonstrated by resumes, statements of purpose, and letters of recommendation. Publications are welcome but not expected. Experience with finite element and aeroelasticity analysis in commercial software such as Nastran is a plus.
Below are some pointers that can help you understand my approach to mentoring.
Independence and work ethic
I monitor everyone's research and academic progress closely and expect students to take their education and research very seriously. While some students are natural self-starters, I believe everyone can succeed and excel if they work hard. 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.
Work hours and locations
I don't enforce specific working hours or locations but I 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 a communication about this.
For Fall 2023, we are holding biweekly group meetings that revolve around research updates and occasionally professional development topics. 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. The frequency and structure of our group meetings may evolve as the group grows.
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.
I don't have a number of publications I expect students to produce, but I encourage them to publish regularly. First, writing is thinking. Second, sharing our discoveries with the community is a way to advance our field. Third, publishing allows us to collect feedback, which leads to new ideas and higher-quality work. Finally, attending conferences and publishing papers can help students secure their next position, and the ability to communicate complex information concisely and clearly is a critical skill for any post-graduation career. For these reasons, I recommend that 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.
I don't expect students to bring their own funding and bringing funding does not 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. This both helps our group finances and builds people's CVs. I'll support students in their applications and point out relevant opportunities.
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.
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
Mention your tentative start date and time commitment
Mention if you are looking for a funded position
If you follow the instructions above, I will reply within 1-2 weeks unless it is a particularly busy time.
Before sending me an email, please note
I do not distance-advise U.G., M.S., or Ph.D. students from other institutions (I only advise students at GT)
I cannot direct-admit a student to my group (all students must apply to one of our programs to be considered)
I do not tolerate emails with insincere rhetoric, hyperbolic language, copy-pasted words from this website, or stretched claims of fit with my group
I will not reply if
We talked recently and I have 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 (for instance, 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 due to copy-pasting
Additional information specific to undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and visiting scholars can be found below.
Additional information about the GT AE programs is 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 due to a large number of requests.
Status: we are at full capacity for Spring 2024, but are open to considering exceptionally qualified undergraduate researchers
Prerequisite courses: System Dynamics and Vibration (required), Structural Dynamics and Aeroelasticity (preferred)
Prerequisite skills: coding experience in any language (required), previous undergraduate research experiences (preferred)
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.
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 in my research area. 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 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, for our B.S./M.S. program).
All prospective graduate students must go through the application process for our program before I can consider offering a funded GRA position. I cannot offer GRA positions to students who have not applied to our program or have not been admitted.
I do not administer GTA positions. That type of position is administered by the graduate program Chair.
I can only offer a limited number of GRA positions per year, depending on the availability of funds.
M.S. and Ph.D. applications for Spring 2024 will be due October 1, 2023
M.S. and Ph.D. applications for Summer or Fall 2024 will be due December 1, 2023
Prerequisite courses: vibrations (required), aerodynamics (required), structural dynamics (preferred), aeroelasticity (preferred)
Prerequisite skills: coding experience in any language (required), undergraduate research experiences (preferred)
Funding: most of the 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 joining our group, you should apply to the GT AE graduate program listing Aeroelasticity and Structural Dynamics as your primary research area and me as a faculty member you would like to work with.
I am not generally able to meet with prospective 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 and I have openings in my group.
The deadline to apply for full consideration for the next admission cycle is October 1, 2023.
If you are a GT AE graduating senior or graduate student interested in our group, please 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 coding
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 (1 student/semester).
How AE 8900 graduate research works in my group: research will work as described for undergraduate students. The difference will be in the complexity of the 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.
Best practices for reading scientific papers (e.g., of potential advisors)
Graduate fellowship opportunities:
Status: we are open to considering postdoctoral researchers as long as they have their own funding
Prerequisite degrees: Ph.D. in Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering (we might be able to work with graduates from other fields)
Prerequisite skills: advanced coding experience in any language (required), expertise in structural dynamics and/or aeroelasticity (required)
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 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.
Postdoctoral fellowship opportunities:
Status: we are not hosting visiting scholars for the remainder of 2023
Prerequisites: to be assessed case by case
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