5 Top 5 Finishes
5 Consecutive Seasons

Captains

Kevin ComptonCo-Captain/Integration Lead/Safety Officer

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Year: Senior
Subteam: Safety

Kevin is currently a senior mechanical engineering student at the University of Louisville's J.B. Speed School of Engineering. This is Kevin's fourth season competing in NASA's student launch project and second year as co-captain of River City Rocketry. After contributing to his team's second place overall victory over the past two seasons, Kevin has been busy working with the aircraft structures division at UPS airlines. Throughout the years of competition Kevin has acquired important knowledge in design, fabrication, manufactural integration, and problem solving. With these skills he hopes to end up in the field of aerospace after graduation.

Ben StringerCo-Captain/Lead VDS Electrical Engineer

Major: Electrical Engineering
Year: Junior
Subteam: VDS Electronics

Ben is a Junior at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering and is majoring in electrical engineering. This is his second season with River City Rocketry and is excited to see the team accomplish its ambitions this year. Ben will be bringing experience gained from his co-op at Raytheon Missile Systems to both the positions of Co-captain and electrical lead. He is particularly interested in control theory, configurable logic, and microcontrollers and looks forward to employing these skills in the aerospace industry upon graduation.

Leadership

Evan SchurrLead Recovery Engineer

Major: Physics
Year: Senior
Subteam: Recovery

Evan is a senior physics student at the University of Louisville with a specialization in applied physics. This is his second year on the team, and he is beyond excited to have taken the reigns this year as the Lead Recovery Engineer. Largely self-taught, Evan has translated his analytical physics skills into real-world engineering problem solving skills in a previous internship at FirstBuild, as well as in the additive manufacturing laboratory on campus. He hopes that taking on a lead engineer position this year will further help him grow his engineering skills and prepare himself for a career in aerospace engineering.

Denny JoyLead Website Developer/Electrical Support Engineer

Major: Computer Engineering and Computer Science
Year: Senior
Subteam: Website & VDS Electronics

Denny is a senior at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering and is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. This is his 2nd competition season with River City Rocketry, leading the team as the Lead Website Developer, and collaborating with the VDS Electrical team as an Electrical Support Engineer. Being a web developer during his first season, he was able to collaborate with the Lead Electrical Engineer over this summer and learn Electrical Engineering Fundamentals, working in tandem on the VDS and develop a flight-grade prototype. His previous internships include Heartland Payment System and Atria Senior Living Group, where he worked on enterprise software as a .Net Developer and built applications to support the Software Engineering team. He looks forward to using his engineering skills from River City Rocketry and his co-op to enter the Aerospace Industry upon graduation.

Wil JohnsonLead Payload Engineer

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Year: Senior
Subteam: Paylod Mechanical

Wil is a senior mechanical engineering student at the university of Louisville's J.B. Speed School of engineering. This is Wil's second competition season where he will be acting as the teams experimental payload lead. Outside of the NASA student launch competition, Wil has also applied himself in the aerospace industry working as a Test Engineer at SpaceX and an Aircraft Structures Engineer at UPS airlines. Wil plans to apply the real world aerospace engineering experience he has gained in developing flight systems the team will utilize in the upcoming season. Wil plans on pursuing a career in aerospace engineering upon graduation.

Justin JohnsonLead Vehicle Engineer

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Year: Sophomore
Subteam: Vehicle

Justin Johnson is a sophomore at the University of Louisville's J.B. Speed School of Engineering who is pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. This is Justin's second year on the team and first season as the vehicle design lead. As the vehicle design lead, he is excited to bring new innovations to the vehicle through his experience with design, fabrication, and team management. He is looking forward to applying the experience he has gained on the team when he obtains an engineering position in the aerospace industry.

Team Members

Kenny Dang

Major: Electrical Engineering
Year: Senior
Subteam: VDS Electronics

Kenny is a Senior Electrical and Computer Engineering student at the University of Louisville. As a second year member, he will be working on the hardware design of the Variable Drag System. Kenny has experience working in the aerospace industry at Gulfstream Aerospace for three co-op rotations. He plans to use his knowledge and interest in power electronics and circuit design to help the rocket accomplish the goals that the team sets fourth this year. Kenny plans to pursue a career in the aerospace industry for the future.

Alora Mazarakis

Major: Electrical Engineering
Year: Junior
Subteam: VDS Electronics

Alora is a junior electrical engineering major at the University of Louisville's JB Speed School of Engineering, with a minor in astronomy and astrophysics. This will be her first season on River city Rocketry, and she enthusiastically anticipates the opportunity to be a part of the competition. As a part of the electrical and controls engineering team, she is currently involved in the data modeling and microcontrollers aspects of the launch. Though she has not yet been on a co-op, she is eager to apply all of these skills to a job in the aerospace industry in the near future.

Jacob Cassady

Major: Computer Engineering and Computer Science
Year: Sophomore
Subteam: VDS Electronics

Jacob is a sophomore at the University of Louisville's J.B. Speed School of Engineering and is pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. This is Jacob's first year as a member of River City Rocketry. He is the Software Lead for the rocket's Variable Drag System and is exhilarated by the opportunity to work with embedded systems. Jacob is currently doing his first co-op rotation at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston as a Computer Engineer.

Matthew Cosgrove

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Year: Sophomore
Subteam: Vehicle

Matthew is a sophomore mechanical engineering student at the University of Louisville. This will be his first full year on River City Rocketry and he is looking forward to the season. He is a member of the vehicle team and hopes to build on his skills and expertise in engineering as he has always been interested in aerospace engineering and hopes to one day have a career in the field.

Jarett Coyle

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Year: Freshman
Subteam: Recovery

Jarett Coyle is a freshman Mechanical Engineering student at UofL's JB Speed School of Engineering. He joined the rocket team hoping to make a future career in rocketry a reality. He is currently a member of the recovery team under Evan Schurr researching and developing parachute designs and recovery methods. He has participated in various outreach events to teach grade school students about rocketry and astronomy.

Alex Bennett

Major: Electrical Engineering
Year: Senior
Subteam: Payload Flight Control

Alex is a senior electrical engineering student at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. As a newcomer to River City Rocketry, he will be working with the payload team and will bring his experience in aerial and autonomous robotics, computer vision, and embedded system design to the table in hopes of guaranteeing the success of the team as a whole. Alex has extensive interests in robotic controls and artificial intelligence and upon graduation plans to pursue a career in these combined fields.

Gabriel Collins

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Year: Junior
Subteam: Payload

Gabriel is a junior Mechanical Engineer at the University of Louisville. He has completed two co-ops at Preh IMA Automation. As a returning member of RCR and the payload team, he hopes to expand upon the skills he has acquired and pass the knowledge and experiences he has gained down to younger members. He hopes to use his experiences working in industry to begin a career in Aerospace Engineering.

Maria Exeler

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Year: Junior
Subteam: Payload

Maria is a junior Mechanical Engineering student at the J.B Speed School of Engineering. She has completed two co-op rotations at GE Aviation where she worked as a member of the Airfoil Coating Department and Advanced Engine Systems. She is excited to participate in the manufacturing and testing of the payload during her first season with River City Rocketry. Maria plans to pursue a career in aerospace after graduation.

Alex Beebe

Major: Mechanical Engineering/Civil Engineering
Year: Freshman
Subteam: Recovery

Alex is a Freshmen Mechanical/Civil Engineering Student at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. New to River City Rocketry, he joined the Recovery team under Evan Schurr to begin developing his knowledge and experience of applied parachute manufacturing and deployment. On the team, he hopes to grow his involvement within Recovery and Education Outreach, as well as further develop his career goals in STEM Education.

Advisors

Dr. Yongsheng LianFaculty Advisor

Dr. Yongsheng serves as a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Louisville and is the team's faculty advisor. He worked at the Ohio Aerospace Institute as a Senior Researcher from 2003 to 2005 and as a Research Scientists at the Aerospace Engineering Department of the University of Michigan from 2005 from 2008. He joined the University of Louisville in 2008. He has 17 years of experience in computational fluid dynamics. He developed algorithms to study fluid/structure interaction, laminar-to-turbulent flow transition, low Reynolds number aerodynamic, and its application to micro air vehicle, two-phase flow, and design optimization.

Darryl HankesTeam Mentor

Darryl Hankes engaged himself in rocketry in February of 2003. In 2004, he joined Tripoli Indiana, where he received his Level 1 TRA certification. In 2006 at Southern Thunder, Hankes received his Level 2 TRA certification. A year later, in 2007, Hankes successfully attempted his Level 3 TRA Certification at Mid-West Power. Over the years, Hankes has flown an R10,000 twice in a team project along with countless M-R projects with clusters, staging, and air starts. He is also the prefect for the Tripoli Rocketry Association, Bluegrass Rocket Society, which provides launch support during test launches. Hankes has mentored the team through all four seasons that River City Rocketry has participated in NASA's student launch competitions. The team is pleased to see his return for this year's competition.