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2020 Capstone Film Fest

Amy Sprague
May 29, 2020

This semester didn't go as planned, but this current state is not the new normal. We're in a time of significant change, unprecedented change. And we're all learning as we go. You will go out into the world and you will make the new normal, and I'm excited to see what you all make of it. – Rob Meyerson
Update: Capstone Film Fest Winners Announced!

SARP, Vulcan, Airbus claim People's Choice Awards. CubeSat and NASA Supersonic claim Alumni's Choice Awards. See details below.

Adapting to 2020

In another shift for the A&A capstones in response to this unprecedented year, the department premiered the A&A Capstone Film Fest live on YouTube. Capstone teams submitted three-minute pitch videos targeted toward general audiences to replace the usual submission of technical posters and bring some levity to the close of this difficult year. 

Charlie Kelly, Ph.D. student and Paper Boys podcast co-host, served as MC to guide us through the video entrees and have a little fun. A&A Chair Kristi Morgansen welcomed viewers, and seniors were treated to words of wisdom by A&A Visiting Committee member and former president of Blue Origin Rob Meyerson.

Morgansen explained the rationale in her address to students during the Film Fest after mentioning that while we were looking forward to our planned in-person graduation on March 27, 2020, as students resoundly rejected the option of a virtual graduation, "We couldn't NOT do anything together as we close the year. So here we are, doing what engineers do: innovating . . . We had to celebrate this." 

Meyerson underscored that an important skill in engineering is adapting to extreme and challenging situations. He said, "This semester didn't go as planned, but this current state is not the new normal. We're in a time of significant change, unprecedented change. And we're all learning as we go. You will go out into the world and you will make the new normal, and I'm excited to see what you all make of it."

People's Choice Awards

A&A invited students, faculty, staff, alumni, family and friends to view the Film Fest and vote for the People's Choice Awards. With over 500 views of our Film Fest on YouTube, we tallied over 300 votes from our A&A community. 

Excellence in Creative Problem Solving

Honoring the team whose short film conveys the most unique, convincing, and original solution to their problem!

Winner: SARP: Liquid Bipropellant Rocket

Excellence in Public Messaging & Engagement

Honoring the team who was most effective at creating, maintaining, and delivering a powerful message!

Winner: Vulcan: Wildlife Conservation Drone

Excellence in Video Production & Editing

Honoring the team whose film displayed highest quality presentation and professionalism!

Winner: Airbus: Urban Mobility Battery Swap

Alumni's Choice Awards

The Alumni's Choice award is the "Best in Show" top honor for the 2020 Senior Capstone Film Fest. The selection committee was asked to identify the all-around best entry that reflects the highest and most consistent level of achievement across all considerations. The committee was encouraged to consider these aspects of the films as a cohesive whole. The final honorees do not have to be the best in every category -- rather they should represent overall excellence with consistent performance across the board.

This invited panel of alumni and friends including Heather Ross (BS '85), Nujoud Merancy (BS '01), Erik Mattson (BS '86), Mike Taniguchi (BS '71), Jim Teslow (BS '70), Geda (BS '77) and Phil Condit, Rao Varanasi (PhD '68), Bobak Ferdowsi (BS '01) and our 2020 Distinguished Alum Kourosh Hadi (BS '82, MS '87) selected the "Best in Show" and "Honorable Mention" awardees.  

Best in Show Winner: CubeSat: CIA Board for SOC-i

Honorable Mention: NASA Supersonic

The Videos

The Film Fest in its entirety

Watch the entire Film Fest as it happened with emcee Charlie Kelly, A&A Chair Kristi Morgansen, A&A Visiting Committee member and former president of Blue Origin Rob Meyerson, and the entire lineup of videos.


Boeing: Regional Aircraft Family

Mission: Design a 50 seat aircraft with a 76 seat stretch configuration with an ideal 20% overall increase in efficiency over existing aircraft, to be in service by the year 2030
Team: Atharva Agashe, Silas Chu, Luis Cortez, Megan Dolan, Jason Kosasih, Xiaoyang Luo, Kimberly Luu, Martin Padilla and Ayden Young. 
Adviser: Professor Eli Livne


Airbus: Urban Mobility Battery Swap

Mission: Design a Battery Replacement Vehicle to swap the battery in Airbus’s new Urban Mobility Vehicle.
Team: Kanika Aggarwal, Christopher Bauer, Houyu Dong, Abhyudaya Gupta, Casper Hsiao and Brian Jacobs.


TLG Aerospace: Robust Laminar Flow Over a High Endurance Airfoil

Mission: Design and test a high lift airfoil optimized for endurance at low speed and is robust to flow contamination (Ex. Icing, leading edge roughness).
Team: Bruce Lee, Matthew Sale, Tony Tan and Chinmay Upadhye
Adviser: Abhiram Aithal


Applewhite Aero: Precision Delivery Baton

Mission: Design, build and test a production ready controlled-descent drone for military missions. 
Team: Reuel Abad, Steven Chiu, Jonathan Do, Andrew Steinkraus and Mathias Van Patten.
Adviser: Professor Kristi Morgansen


CubeSat: CIA Board for SOC-i

Sponsor: A&A CubeSat Team
Mission: To design, build and test the magnetorquer attitude control system aboard the SOC-i CubeSat.
Team: David Arnold, Ricardo Herrera, Jeremy Nguyen, Claudio Perez Rocha, Suchita Raman, James Taverne and Zech Latimer.
Advisers: Charlie Kelly, Taylor Reynolds, Professor Mehran Mesbahi


NASA Supersonic 

Mission: The 2020 NASA Supersonic Capstone team will contribute to a 3-year NASA university-led Commercial Supersonics Technology project by studying and selecting supersonic commercial configurations that demonstrate acceptable low-speed performance and low-sonic boom characteristics.
Team: William Hendrickson, Eduardo Kruger, SiLin Li, Nico Miguel, Eric Racadag, Daniel Roberts, Jacob Rork, Avi Soval, Dustin Tabor, Seth Timney and Elaine Xiong.
Advisers: Professor Eli Livne, Professor Dana Dabiri, Professor Chet Nelson, Professor Reza Soltani


SARP: Liquid Bipropellant Rocket

Mission: Design, manufacture, and launch a liquid bipropellant rocket with a scientific payload to as close to 30,000 ft as possible, and safely recover after flight.
Team: Aaron Abeyta, Emma Blumhagen, Kordel Clarks, Noah Curry, Cody Custer, Joseph DePalma, Kaito Durkee, Kyle Kraft, Josh Kreutz, Nicholas Monsees, Liam Mortell, Kordell Newberg, Cody Olson, Vincent Overney, Hannah Schnelz, Cory Slaughter, Julia Slusarski, Daniel Sullivan, Isaiah Tongedahl and Michael Warner.
Adviser: Professor Justin Little


Vulcan: Wildlife Conservation Drone

Mission: Aircraft endurance is a key component in deterring animal poaching. Working with the Vulcan surveillance UAV, the team will propose improvements, test components, and modify existing prototype aircraft to reduce drag, optimize propulsion, and improve the airframe.
Team: Alexey Abaev, Ethan Arpin, Nathan Boeckel, Ellyn Cashdollar, David Dewey, Jaspreet Sidhu, Peyton Wells and Blake Winner.
Adviser: Professor Eli Livne


RAVEN: Rocket-based GNC

Mission: Design and build small rocket with gimballed engine for testing thrust vectoring control algorithms.
Team: Erdem Bardakcilar, Nathaniel Barry, Jiacheng Chen, Roman Grinchuk, Thomas Moccia, Gabriel Thompson, Matt Vredevoogd and Yi Wang.
Advisers: Professor Jim Hermanson and Professor Behcet Acikmese



A&A feature story: Innovate is what we engineers do: The A&A capstones pivot explores the shifts the Vulcan, Applewhite Aero and SARP teams initiated to produce useful products and experiences for the teams and sponsors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.