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A&A undergraduate Lillie LaPlace wins Sigma Gamma Tau regional award

Amy Sprague
May 6, 2024

A&A student Lillie LaPlace awarded prestigious Sigma Gamma Tau honor for academic excellence and vision.

Lillie LaPlace  headshot

Lillie LaPlace

The honor society for aerospace engineering Sigma Gamma Tau awarded A&A senior Lillie LaPlace the Western Region Award. This prestigious honor recognizes LaPlace's outstanding academic achievements and her promising future in the aerospace field.

LaPlace has a passion for space propulsion development with a goal of working for a government space agency conducting spacecraft design research. She would like to contribute to society through space exploration and the technological advancements it catalyzes.

"I want the work I do to benefit society as a whole through the discoveries and spinoff technologies that are always made when we decide to explore space," LaPlace says. "I especially like the overlap of plasmas with other fields like physics and Earth and space science, since studying this has given me a greater appreciation for the work done in these fields."

LaPlace's enthusiasm for aerospace extends well beyond the classroom. For the past year, she has worked in A&A’s Quantitative Flow Visualization Lab with Professor Dana Dabiri on infrared and schlieren imaging, also assisting with part manufacturing and testing of the lab's hypersonic wind tunnel. Her hands-on experience complements her strong theoretical foundation.

In addition, LaPlace has held internships at Boeing for the past two summers. At Boeing Commercial Airplanes, she conducted structural analysis and design work on aircraft components. This summer, she is interning at Boeing's Radiation Effects Lab to assist with testing of radiation hardening on spacecraft. This fall, she will intern at NASA Armstrong through the Pathways program.

On campus, LaPlace serves as an aerodynamics lead for A&A’s Design, Build, Fly (DBF) team, combining her interests in aircraft design and propulsion. "I would love to work on a reusable orbiter at some point in my career to blend my interests together," she stated. DBF just ranked 3rd in their annual competition, their highest-ever standing at the competition which hosted over 100 teams this year.

"Lillie is an excellent student researcher who excels not only in her hypersonic research in my lab, but in all her activities," said Professor Dabiri, who is also the SGT faculty adviser. "Her creativity, commitment and contributions across design teams, internships and research projects have been truly outstanding. I have no doubt her future impact on the aerospace field will be pioneering."