Meet the Team

Taylor.png

Taylor Hsieh

Co-Captain

Taylor is a Junior Mechanical Engineering student beginning his 2nd full year on the team. After serving as a part of the vehicle sub-team this past season, and completing a co-op with UPS Airlines, Taylor is ready to lead the team to new heights.

Jacob_Marcum_edited.jpg

Jacob Marcum

Telemetry Lead

Jacob is a senior electrical engineering major at the JB Speed School of Engineering. This will be his 2nd year on the team. In 2017, Jacob served on the VDS team, working to develop electrical hardware as well as custom simulations to model the flight of the rocket.

Team Alumni

Matthew Cosgrove
Matthew Cosgrove

Matthew graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Louisville. He served three full years on River City Rocketry serving as both Vehicle Lead and later Co-captain in separate seasons. Having always had a passion for rocketry, Matthew knew he had to be a part of River City Rocketry. He hopes to one day start a career in the aerospace industry doing what he loves. Co-captain (2018-2019), Vehicle Team Lead (2017-2018)

press to zoom
Kristian Meyer
Kristian Meyer

Kristian is an Electrical Engineering graduate who served three years on the team. Kristian developed the DAQ for the team's development liquid rocket engine. During his co-ops with Reynolds Consumer Products, he worked with the configuration and logic programming of PLC's as well as plant power distribution. His work with the DAQ developed expertise in small scale electronics and microcontroller programming. Payload Team Lead (2017-2018), DAQ Lead (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Alex Basil
Alex Basil

Alex is a Mechanical Engineering graduate of the J.B. Speed of Engineering. Alex has had three years of experience with the team. Alex has completed 3 internships with GE Aviation. Payload Team Lead (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Blaise Dannunzio
Blaise Dannunzio

Blaise is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. He finished his third year on River City Rocketry as a member of the payload subteam. Vehicle Team Member, Payload Team Member (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Samuel Williams
Samuel Williams

Samuel is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Louisville. Samuel his second RCR competitive season developing the fluid system for the Liquid Engine team. His experience with additive manufacturing during his co-ops at the University of Louisville Rapid Prototyping Center was leveraged in manufacturing several components of the rocket. He has since joined SpaceX as an engineer post-graduation. Liquid Rocket Engine Team Member (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Paulo Ribenboim
Paulo Ribenboim

Paulo is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Louisville. In Paulo’s first year with River City Rocketry he focused on the UAV payload's mechanical design. Paulo has completed two co-op's with GE Aviation, as well as a co-op at Raytheon Missile Systems. Payload Team Member (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Justin Johnson
Justin Johnson

Justin is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Louisville's J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Through his 3 years of experience on the team as well as experience gained through 3 internships at SpaceX on the Dragon Propulsion group, he lead River City Rocketry’s efforts in designing the team’s first liquid bi-propellant rocket engine in the 2018-2019 season. Liquid Rocket Engine Lead (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Erik Garcia
Erik Garcia

Erik is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Louisville. Erik was on River City Rocketry for two years and worked with the liquid engine development team. In the past Erik has helped the team by using his CNC machining skills to machine custom parts for the team's payloads and structural components of the rocket. Payload Team Member (2017-2018), Liquid Engine Team Member (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Maria Exeler
Maria Exeler

​Maria graduated from the J.B Speed School of Engineering with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. She completed three co-op rotations at GE Aviation where she worked as a member of the Airfoil Coating Department, Military Inlets & Exhaust, Turbomachinery Design, and CMC Stress and Life Management. Maria has started her career at GE Aviation as a member of the Edison Engineering Development Program. ​ Co-captain (2017-2018), Payload Team Member (2016-2017)

press to zoom
Gabriel Collins
Gabriel Collins

​Gabriel is a Mechanical Engineering graudate from the University of Louisville. He completed three co-ops at Preh IMA Automation. He hopes to use his experiences working in industry to begin a career in Aerospace Engineering. Co-captain (2017-2018)

press to zoom
Denny Joy
Denny Joy

Denny is a graduate from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering with a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. While acting as a web developer during his first season, he learned Electrical Engineering Fundamentals, working in tandem on the VDS 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. VDS Team Member (2017-2018), Website Developer (2017-2018)

press to zoom
Kevin Compton
Kevin Compton

Kevin is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Louisville’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Kevin competed on the team for four seasons. After contributing to his team’s second place overall victory over his second and third seasons, Kevin worked 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.

press to zoom
Ben Stringer
Ben Stringer

Ben is a graduate from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He spent two seasons with River City Rocketry where he has served as AGSE electrical lead, VDS lead, and Co-captain. He is particularly interested in control theory, configurable logic, and microcontrollers and looks forward to employing these skills as a graduate. As of 2018, Ben is employed with Raytheon Missile Systems in Tuscon, AZ.

press to zoom
Wil Johnson
Wil Johnson

Wil is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Outside of the NASA student launch competition, Wil applied himself in the aerospace industry working as a Test Engineer at SpaceX and an Aircraft Structures Engineer at UPS airlines. Wil plans on pursuing a career in aerospace engineering. Payload Team Lead (2016-2017)

press to zoom
Evan Schurr
Evan Schurr

Evan is a Physics graduate from the University of Louisville with a specialization in applied physics. 2016-2017 was his second year on the team. Largely self-taught, Evan translated his analytical physics skills into real-world engineering problem solving skills in a previous internship at FirstBuild, and the additive manufacturing laboratory on campus. He looks forward to a career in aerospace engineering. Recovery Team Lead (2016-2017)

press to zoom
Alora Mazarakis
Alora Mazarakis

Alora is an Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate from J.B. Speed School of Engineering. She participated in River City Rocketry for 2 years serving on the VDS team. In 2018 she served as the VDS lead. Alora completed 2 co-ops at TechShot, developing payloads for the International Space Station. VDS Team Member (2016-2017), VDS Team Lead (2017-2018)

press to zoom
Jacob Cassidy
Jacob Cassidy
press to zoom
Kenny Dang
Kenny Dang

Kenny is a Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate from the University of Louisville. He worked on the hardware design of the Variable Drag System. He helped use his knowledge and interest in power electronics and circuit design to help the VDS and telemetry design in previous seasons. Kenny now works as a Simulation & Software Engineer at Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah, GA.

press to zoom
Emily Robison
Emily Robison

Emily is a 2016 MEng graduate of Mechanical Engineering. She served four seasons with River City Rocketry. After helping the team take home the safety award and 2nd place during the 13-14 season, she led the team in winning the award for the next 2 seasons. After graduation, Emily began her professional career with Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona, as a Mechanical Engineer. Team Captain, Integration Lead, Educational Engagement Lead, Safety Officer

press to zoom
Gregg Blincoe
Gregg Blincoe

Gregg is a 2015 graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Passionate for everything aerospace, he spent his last three years at the university devoted to the team and led River City Rocketry to 3rd and 2nd place finishes respectively while captain. He is humbled by the sacrifices made by those who predate him in the aerospace industry, and hopes to one day enhance the future of space exploration. Team Captain, Integration Lead, Vehicle Design Lead

press to zoom
Nick Greco
Nick Greco

Nick founded University of Louisville's NASA University Student Launch Initiative program, now known as River City Rocketry. He captained from 2011 to 2013, leading RCR to earning the "Best New Team" and "Best Vehicle Design" awards and placing among the top 5 during their first 2 seasons. In 2013, he interned at Marshall Space Flight Center and graduated his Master's in Mechanical Engineering. He then worked for Blue Origin on reusable suborbital & suborbital space systems. Founder, Captain

press to zoom
Kara Leeds
Kara Leeds

Kara graduated in 2014 with her MEng in Industrial Engineering. Her masters project focused on analyzing the mechanical properties of 3D-printed HY-100 steel alloy parts, which had undergone post-processing heat treatments. In her off time, Kara enjoys traveling and previously helped create an organization called Aegean Refugee Aid to help Syrian and Iraqi refugees living in the Aegean region of Turkey. Outreach Coordinator and Safety Officer

press to zoom
Austin Echsner
Austin Echsner

Austin completed his degree at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Throughout high school and into college he has been involved with a high school robotics team as both a student and mentor. During his two seasons with RCR and he applied his robotics experience to the AGSE Mechanical sub team, taking on the lead role. After graduation, Austin was employed by Raytheon Missile Systems as a Mechanical Engineer. AGSE Mechanical Lead

press to zoom
Kyle Hord
Kyle Hord

Kyle started at the University of Louisville in 2005, and was awarded three degrees in Mechanical Engineering. During his graduate career, he spent time performing research in Computational Fluid Dynamics and optimization that led to several internships at NASA Langley. He now works as an engineer focused on helping companies optimize designs digitally through the use of various tools including CFD. Co-Captain and Recovery Lead

press to zoom
Me headshot 2.PNG

Tiffany Baird

Co-Captain, Vehicle Lead, Machinist

Tiffany is a junior Mechanical Engineering student. This will be her second year as Vehicle Lead and her first as Co-Captain. During her first-year she also participated as a Propulsion member which has given her a great understanding of all components relating to the design of the Vehicle. Tiffany co-ops at Samtec where she designs and manufactures electrical components.

Branden Shay

Co-Captain, Payload Lead

Branden is a junior Mechanical Engineering student. This will be his second year as Payload Lead and his first as Co-Captain. Branden had joined both Payload and Recovery subteams his first-year leading him to design our steerable parachute system as part of our current Payload. Branden has completed one co-op at Stanley Black & Decker.

Logo_background_removed.png
Abel Headshot 2.PNG

Abel Al-Hussainawi

Telemetry Lead

Abel is a junior Electrical and Computer Engineering student. This will be his second year as Telemetry Lead. In addition to the software for the Vehicle and VDS systems, Abel experiments with thrust-vector controlled model rockets. Abel co-ops at Collins Aerospace as Software Engineer.

Jacob Schopp

Propulsion Co-Lead, Machinist

Jacob is a senior Electrical and Computer Engineering student. This will Jacob's third year leading our Propulsion research. During his first year on the team, Jacob acquired multiple machining certifications in support of the Payload and Vehicle subteams making him one of our most rounded engineers. Jacob co-ops at the MNTC where he does research focused in MEMS.

schopp final.png
Logo_background_removed.png

Patrick Spencer

Propulsion Co-Lead, Machinist

Patrick is a junior Mechanical Engineering student. This will be his second year leading our Propulsion research. Patrick has spent his years on Propulsion learning both design elements and safety standards. Additionally, he is one of few certified high power rocketeers on the team. Patrick co-ops at Masten Space Systems where he continues his aerospace work designing liquid engines.

Team Alumni

Taylor Hsieh
Taylor Hsieh
press to zoom
Eric Lewis
Eric Lewis
press to zoom
Kaylee Norvell
Kaylee Norvell
press to zoom
Gloria McClain
Gloria McClain
press to zoom
Alex Cooper
Alex Cooper
press to zoom
Jacob Marcum
Jacob Marcum
press to zoom
Chase Renner
Chase Renner

Chase was a Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Louisville. He was an initiating member of RCR's propulsion development. He went on to the be the Solid Engine Lead during the team's first season at the Spaceport America Cup. Solid Engine Lead (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Hunter Lewis
Hunter Lewis

Hunter was an Electrical and Computer Engineering student at the University of Louisville. Hunter's vast experience in drones, UAV's, and flight controls programming helped the Payload Team develop its first UAV: Pegasus. He took lead on the programming and flight coordination tasks that helped Pegasus take flight. Payload Team Member (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Tanner Corby
Tanner Corby

Tanner was a Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Louisville. Tanner supported the Vehicle Team during the team's first year at the Spaceport America Cup. Vehicle Team Member (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Matthew Cosgrove
Matthew Cosgrove

Matthew graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Louisville. He served three full years on River City Rocketry serving as both Vehicle Lead and later Co-captain in separate seasons. Having always had a passion for rocketry, Matthew knew he had to be a part of River City Rocketry. He hopes to one day start a career in the aerospace industry doing what he loves. Co-captain (2018-2019), Vehicle Team Lead (2017-2018)

press to zoom
Kristian Meyer
Kristian Meyer

Kristian is an Electrical Engineering graduate who served three years on the team. Kristian developed the DAQ for the team's development liquid rocket engine. During his co-ops with Reynolds Consumer Products, he worked with the configuration and logic programming of PLC's as well as plant power distribution. His work with the DAQ developed expertise in small scale electronics and microcontroller programming. Payload Team Lead (2017-2018), DAQ Lead (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Alex Basil
Alex Basil

Alex is a Mechanical Engineering graduate of the J.B. Speed of Engineering. Alex has had three years of experience with the team. Alex has completed 3 internships with GE Aviation. Payload Team Lead (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Blaise Dannunzio
Blaise Dannunzio

Blaise is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. He finished his third year on River City Rocketry as a member of the payload subteam. Vehicle Team Member, Payload Team Member (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Samuel Williams
Samuel Williams

Samuel is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Louisville. Samuel his second RCR competitive season developing the fluid system for the Liquid Engine team. His experience with additive manufacturing during his co-ops at the University of Louisville Rapid Prototyping Center was leveraged in manufacturing several components of the rocket. He has since joined SpaceX as an engineer post-graduation. Liquid Rocket Engine Team Member (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Paulo Ribenboim
Paulo Ribenboim

Paulo is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Louisville. In Paulo’s first year with River City Rocketry he focused on the UAV payload's mechanical design. Paulo has completed two co-op's with GE Aviation, as well as a co-op at Raytheon Missile Systems. Payload Team Member (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Justin Johnson
Justin Johnson

Justin is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Louisville's J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Through his 3 years of experience on the team as well as experience gained through 3 internships at SpaceX on the Dragon Propulsion group, he lead River City Rocketry’s efforts in designing the team’s first liquid bi-propellant rocket engine in the 2018-2019 season. Liquid Rocket Engine Lead (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Erik Garcia
Erik Garcia

Erik is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Louisville. Erik was on River City Rocketry for two years and worked with the liquid engine development team. In the past Erik has helped the team by using his CNC machining skills to machine custom parts for the team's payloads and structural components of the rocket. Payload Team Member (2017-2018), Liquid Engine Team Member (2018-2019)

press to zoom
Maria Exeler
Maria Exeler

​Maria graduated from the J.B Speed School of Engineering with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. She completed three co-op rotations at GE Aviation where she worked as a member of the Airfoil Coating Department, Military Inlets & Exhaust, Turbomachinery Design, and CMC Stress and Life Management. Maria has started her career at GE Aviation as a member of the Edison Engineering Development Program. ​ Co-captain (2017-2018), Payload Team Member (2016-2017)

press to zoom
Gabriel Collins
Gabriel Collins

​Gabriel is a Mechanical Engineering graudate from the University of Louisville. He completed three co-ops at Preh IMA Automation. He hopes to use his experiences working in industry to begin a career in Aerospace Engineering. Co-captain (2017-2018)

press to zoom
Denny Joy
Denny Joy

Denny is a graduate from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering with a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. While acting as a web developer during his first season, he learned Electrical Engineering Fundamentals, working in tandem on the VDS 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. VDS Team Member (2017-2018), Website Developer (2017-2018)

press to zoom
Jeff Young
Jeff Young

Jeff is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Louisville with a Masters in Business Administration. He was responsible for the mechanical redesign of the VDS to incorporate the system into 2018 vehicle. Jeff gained experience in engineering design and finite element analysis in support of the vehicle's nose cone design. Beyond RCR, Jeff co-oped at LG&E for all rotations. Jeff now studies Patent Law at Georgetown University. VDS Team Member, Vehicle Team Member (2017-2018)

press to zoom
Kevin Compton
Kevin Compton

Kevin is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Louisville’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Kevin competed on the team for four seasons. After contributing to his team’s second place overall victory over his second and third seasons, Kevin worked 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.

press to zoom
Ben Stringer
Ben Stringer

Ben is a graduate from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He spent two seasons with River City Rocketry where he has served as AGSE electrical lead, VDS lead, and Co-captain. He is particularly interested in control theory, configurable logic, and microcontrollers and looks forward to employing these skills as a graduate. As of 2018, Ben is employed with Raytheon Missile Systems in Tuscon, AZ.

press to zoom
Wil Johnson
Wil Johnson

Wil is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Outside of the NASA student launch competition, Wil applied himself in the aerospace industry working as a Test Engineer at SpaceX and an Aircraft Structures Engineer at UPS airlines. Wil plans on pursuing a career in aerospace engineering. Payload Team Lead (2016-2017)

press to zoom
Evan Schurr
Evan Schurr

Evan is a Physics graduate from the University of Louisville with a specialization in applied physics. 2016-2017 was his second year on the team. Largely self-taught, Evan translated his analytical physics skills into real-world engineering problem solving skills in a previous internship at FirstBuild, and the additive manufacturing laboratory on campus. He looks forward to a career in aerospace engineering. Recovery Team Lead (2016-2017)

press to zoom
Alora Mazarakis
Alora Mazarakis

Alora is an Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate from J.B. Speed School of Engineering. She participated in River City Rocketry for 2 years serving on the VDS team. In 2018 she served as the VDS lead. Alora completed 2 co-ops at TechShot, developing payloads for the International Space Station. VDS Team Member (2016-2017), VDS Team Lead (2017-2018)

press to zoom
Jacob Cassidy
Jacob Cassidy
press to zoom
Kenny Dang
Kenny Dang

Kenny is a Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate from the University of Louisville. He worked on the hardware design of the Variable Drag System. He helped use his knowledge and interest in power electronics and circuit design to help the VDS and telemetry design in previous seasons. Kenny now works as a Simulation & Software Engineer at Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah, GA.

press to zoom
Emily Robison
Emily Robison

Emily is a 2016 MEng graduate of Mechanical Engineering. She served four seasons with River City Rocketry. After helping the team take home the safety award and 2nd place during the 13-14 season, she led the team in winning the award for the next 2 seasons. After graduation, Emily began her professional career with Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona, as a Mechanical Engineer. Team Captain, Integration Lead, Educational Engagement Lead, Safety Officer

press to zoom
Gregg Blincoe
Gregg Blincoe

Gregg is a 2015 graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Passionate for everything aerospace, he spent his last three years at the university devoted to the team and led River City Rocketry to 3rd and 2nd place finishes respectively while captain. He is humbled by the sacrifices made by those who predate him in the aerospace industry, and hopes to one day enhance the future of space exploration. Team Captain, Integration Lead, Vehicle Design Lead

press to zoom
Nick Greco
Nick Greco

Nick founded University of Louisville's NASA University Student Launch Initiative program, now known as River City Rocketry. He captained from 2011 to 2013, leading RCR to earning the "Best New Team" and "Best Vehicle Design" awards and placing among the top 5 during their first 2 seasons. In 2013, he interned at Marshall Space Flight Center and graduated his Master's in Mechanical Engineering. He then worked for Blue Origin on reusable suborbital & suborbital space systems. Founder, Captain

press to zoom
Kara Leeds
Kara Leeds

Kara graduated in 2014 with her MEng in Industrial Engineering. Her masters project focused on analyzing the mechanical properties of 3D-printed HY-100 steel alloy parts, which had undergone post-processing heat treatments. In her off time, Kara enjoys traveling and previously helped create an organization called Aegean Refugee Aid to help Syrian and Iraqi refugees living in the Aegean region of Turkey. Outreach Coordinator and Safety Officer

press to zoom