Dr. Christine Hartzell

hartzell at umd.edu
Office: 3178 Martin Hall
Phone: 301-405-4647
Christine Hartzell joined the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland as Assistant Professor in February 2014 and was promoted to Associate Professor in July 2020. She completed her PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, under the direction of Dan Scheeres. Her thesis research topic was electrostatic dust levitation above asteroids and the Moon. Prior to coming to UMD, she was a Keck Institute for Space Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech, where she studied granular mechanics. She completed her undergraduate work in Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech. In her spare time, Dr. Hartzell enjoys riding horses, downhill skiing (on the West coast), traveling, cooking and spending time with her cat.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr. Yun Zhang

Awards: Asteroid (53537) Zhangyun was named in recognition of her contributions to small body science by IAU; 1st Place of Research Student Competition of 5th IAA Planetary Defense Conference; Best Ph.D. Thesis Award of Tsinghua University.
Bio: Yun received her Ph.D. degree in Aerospace Engineering from Tsinghua University in 2018. After graduation, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur in France. Her research expertise includes the theoretical analysis and numerical modeling of geophysical evolution of small bodies. Currently, Yun’s research focuses on understanding some fundamental physical mechanisms that play important roles in the surface processes of airless bodies, i.e., triboelectric charging and rarefied gas drag. In her spare time, Yun enjoys hiking, jogging, and playing piano.

Graduate Students

Jennifer Bates

2nd Year PhD Student
Awards: NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunities Fellowship
Bio: Jennifer completed her B.S. in Physics at Agnes Scott College. After graduation, she worked for a year as a middle school science teacher. Jennifer's current project focuses on instrumentation for detecting plasma solitons produced by small orbital debris. Jennifer's hobbies include gardening, sewing, and playing with her cats.

Melissa Buys

1st Year PhD Student
Awards: Fulbright Fellow, South Africa
Bio: Melissa completed her B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Pretoria. Her current research focuses on understanding triboelectric charging of rovers on the Moon. Melissa enjoys hiking, writing poetry and finding obscure coffee shops in her free time.

Ian DesJardin

2nd Year PhD Student
Awards: DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship, UMD Flagship Fellowship
Bio: Ian Completed a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and a B.A. in Math at SUNY-Buffalo. Ian's research focuses on computational simulations of the plasma signature produced by small orbital debris, enabling new detection methods. Ian enjoys hiking, trivia, and hanging out with his cat.

Eric Frizzell

5th Year PhD Student
Awards: NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 2017 SSPI Award, Clark Fellowship
Bio: Eric completed a B.S. in Economics from the University of Michigan and worked for a few years prior to pursuing his passion for aerospace. Eric completed a second B.S. in Aerospace Engineering at UMD and decided to stay for his PhD. Eric's research focuses on using LIGGGHTS to computationally model granular dilation surrounding lunar craters. Eric's hobbies include reading, running and learning to play the guitar.

Siti Nur Hannany Md Salehuddin

1st Year MS Student
Bio: Born and raised in Malaysia, Hannany completed her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. During her studies, Hannany was a research volunteer as she assisted in the validation of anti-phase rotor-noise suppression technology developed by NASA Ames. Besides all things space, skies, and cats, she enjoys travelling, reading, watching movies, and writing her journal.

Charles Pett

4th Year PhD Student
Awards: 2021 SSPI Award for Most Innovative Technology, NASA Pathways
Bio: Charles completed his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida. As an undergrad, Charles worked on clearing dust off of solar panels on Earth. Now, he's applying his dust knowledge to planetary science applications - developing a new method to measure cohesion on asteroids. In his spare time, Charles enjoys gardening, trying new foods, dancing and spending time with his cat and dog.

Anmol Sikka

2nd Year PhD Student
Bio: Anmol completed his B.Tech and M.Tech in Aerospace Engineering from IIT Bombay, India, where he also led the student satellite team. He uses LIGGGHTS (an open-source DEM code) to make predictions about the effect of magnetic forces in avalanching of granular materials. In his spare time, Anmol likes writing his blog, reading fiction and watching movies.

Connor Wilson

1st Year MS Student
Bio: Connor completed his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering at Penn State. After graduating, Connor worked at Raytheon for 5 years prior to pursuing his MS. Connor's thesis focuses on looking for evidence of plasma solitons produced by orbital debris in existing, ground-based ionospheric plasma density observations. Connor spends his free time cooking, practicing music, playing board games, and hiking.

Grace Zimmerman

1st Year MS Student
Awards: National Science Foundation Fellowship
Bio: Grace completed her B.S. in Physics at the University of Central Arkansas. As an undergrad, she completed two NASA internships, one in planetary science and the other in simulation modeling. Now she is combining her undergraduate research to design trajectories aerogravity assists at the outer planets. In her spare time, Grace enjoys reading, playing her flute and cello, and spending time with her cat.

Lab Alumni - PhD

Thomas Leps

PhD, Dec 2021, Defended from the South Pole
Thesis Title: Simulation of Magnetic Granular Media Using Open Source Soft Sphere Discrete Element Method
Current Position: NSF Overwinter Lead for BICEP Array at South Pole

Jackson Shannon

PhD, May 2021, NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship
Thesis Title: Selected Problems in Many-Revolution Trajectory Optimization Using Q-Law
Current Position: Trajectory Design Engineer, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab

Alexis Truitt

PhD, May 2020, Director of National Intelligence Science and Technology Fellowship
Thesis Title: Characteristics of Plasma Solitons Produced by Small Orbital Debris
Current Position: Department of Defense

Dylan Carter

PhD, Dec 2019, NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship
Thesis Title: Modeling and Experimental Measurement of Triboelectric Charging in Dielectric Granular Mixtures
Current Position: Systems Engineer, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab

Anthony DeCicco

PhD, July 2018, NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship
Thesis Title: Asteroid Control via Neutral Beam Emitting Spacecraft
Current Position: Future Technical Leaders Program, Northrup Grumman

Lab Alumni - MS

Anand Patel

MS, May 2020
Thesis Title: A Model to Predict the Size of 3D Regolith Clumps on Planetary Bodies
Current Position: Lunar Gateway Spacecraft Autonomous Systems - Planning and Optimization Engineer, CACI (NASA Johnson)

Teddy Levine

MS, Dec 2016
Thesis Title: The Effects of Tidal Forces on the Minimum Energy Configurations of the Full Three-Body Problem Link to Thesis
Current Position: Controls Engineer, Relative Dynamics (NASA Goddard)