Mark Miller has been a fixture in the UK College of Engineering since arriving on campus in the fall of 2007. Eager to apply his education to student organizations competing in engineering competitions, Mark was a part of the Design/Build/Fly team that built and flew “Blue Dawn” in the 2011 competition in Tucson, Ari. During his senior year, Mark was Team Lead for the Solar Car Team that raced in the Formula Sun Competition at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The car, Gato del Sol IV, placed fifth in the national race.
Just as gifted inside the classroom as outside of it, Mark was chosen by Dean Thomas Lester to participate in his Engineering Leadership Class—an experience that exposed him to industry leaders, renowned alumni and culminated in a trip to Washington D.C. Given Mark’s potential, it was a testament to UK’s ability to attract high-quality graduate students when Mark chose to enroll in a graduate program directed by assistant professor Sean Bailey after graduating in May, 2011.
Recently, Mark was notified that he will receive a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship. The NSTRF is a national award given to a select group of future technological leaders, and the goal of the NSTRF program is “to provide the nation with a pipeline of highly skilled engineers and technologists to improve America’s technological competitiveness.” Through such programs, NASA hopes to gain access to students like Mark, who are interested in creating new technologies that will benefit aerospace research. One aspect of the fellowship is that Mark will have the opportunity to work with NASA scientists at a NASA facility.
“I have been very excited to see the progression of this work, and the amazing field of dedicated researchers that further the state of the art every day,” Mark declares. “This NSTR Fellowship will provide the opportunity to take this research to new levels that I could not have imagined when submitting the first proposal.”
Mark is currently working on a NASA EPSCoR funded project conducting experimental investigation of blowing effects on turbulent flow over a rough surface. Using a wind tunnel, Mark is examining the fundamentals of how flow transpiration through a surface modifies the turbulence flowing over it. His research has applications for modeling adverse effects upon the exterior of spacecraft returning to the earth’s atmosphere.
Bailey, who has known Mark since he was a student in his fluid dynamics class almost three years ago, says Mark is more than deserving of the prestigious award.
“Mark continues to impress me with his maturity and knowledge of engineering fundamentals, and even in this early stage of his graduate studies I am able rely on him to conduct quality experiments that I can trust. He has proven himself to be an excellent experimentalist with a good instinct for performing research.”
Mark cites Bailey, as well as assistant professor Alexandre Martin, as influences that made the award possible. “I could never have made it this far without the support of my advisers and funding through NASA. It is incredible to me what is possible when you dedicate your time and are provided tons of great assistance from co-workers and advisers.”
In addition to displaying a poster at the 5th Ablation Conference earlier this year, Mark will be presenting his research at the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics annual meeting this fall and will exhibit a poster at the 17th annual Kentucky EPSCoR conference.