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© 2019 River City Rocketry — Louisville, KY

Meet the Team

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

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 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
Jacob Cassidy
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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Taylor Hsieh

Co-Captain

Taylor is a senior Mechanical Engineering student beginning his 3rd full year on the team. Taylor previously served as a part of the vehicle sub-team, and has completed a co-op with UPS Airlines. Taylor is ready to lead the team to new heights as RCR pursues its second year at the Spaceport America Cup.

Jarett Coyle

Co-Captain

Jarett Coyle is a senior Mechanical Engineering student. He has served as the lead recovery systems engineer for the team, researching and developing parachute designs and recovery methods. He has participated in and led various outreach events to teach grade school students about rocketry and astronomy, reaching over 1000 adults and children a year.

Jacob Marcum

Telemetry Lead

Jacob is a senior Electrical Engineering student at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. This will be his 3rd 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. In the upcoming season, Jacob will support the return of VDS to new production in the SA Cup.

Eric Lewis

Vehicle Lead, Machinist

Eric is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at the JB Speed School of Engineering. This will be his 3rd year on the team, and 2nd year as Vehicle Lead. He worked to develop the launch vehicle and systems for Zenith as a team member, and Justify as its lead designer. Eric now manages the Recovery Team as part of the Vehicle's launch systems. 

Kaylee Norvell

Payload Mechanical Lead

Kaylee is a senior Mechanical Engineer at the JB Speed School of Engineering. This will be her 3rd year on the team. Previously, she has worked to design and craft parachutes for the Recovery Team, and supported the construction of Justify. In the upcoming season, she will lead the mechanical design and construction for the team's scientific payload mission. 

Max Williams

Payload Software Lead

Max is a senior Computer Engineering and Computer Science major at the JB Speed School of Engineering. This will be his 3rd year on the team. In 2018, Max supported the Telemetry team, working to develop custom software to communicate with live transceivers on the rocket. Through RCR, Max has developed team-based communicative skills for complex interdisciplinary projects, and has gained mechanical knowledge by working on designs outside his field.

Gloria McClain

Payload Electrical Lead, Website Developer

Gloria is a senior Electrical and Computer Engineer at the University of Louisville. In her 3rd year on RCR, she hopes to apply her knowledge of Systems Engineering to help design and manage the upcoming payload. Gloria co-oped with Gulfstream Aerospace for all her rotations, developing Systems Engineering design and Python simulation skills. Following competition, she plans to pursue her Masters of Engineering.

Jacob Schopp

Solid Engine Lead, Machinist

Jacob is a sophomore Electrical and Computer Engineering major at the University of Louisville. During his first year on the team, Jacob acquired multiple machining certifications in support of the Payload and Vehicle subteams. In his second year, he will lead research and development for the Solid Engine Development. RCR has helped shape his goals and abilities for the better, pushing him to achieve as he continues his academic career.

Michael Meier

Liquid Engine Lead

Michael is a junior Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Louisville. This will be his 3rd year on the team. Previously, he supported the recovery team before assisting in the development of the Liquid Engine team. Michael has performed 2 co-op rotations with Gulfstream Aerospace, acquiring propulsion design knowledge.

Matthew Meier

Liquid Engine Member

Matthew is a sophomore Mechanical Engineering student at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. This will be his 2nd year on the team. Matthew helped support the design of Liquid Engine test articles during the propulsion team's inception.

Connor Riedley

Data Acquisition, Liquid Engine Member

Connor is a sophomore Electrical Engineering student at the University of Louisville's J.B. Speed School of Engineering.  Going into his 2nd year on the team, Connor will focus on the development of software and hardware systems for the Liquid Engine DAQ.

Jim Fowler

Vehicle Member

Jim is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Louisville. In his 3rd year with the team, Jim will be working to support outreach and maintenance for team resources, as well as supporting the build and test of the launch vehicle. He has co-oped with Emerson Topworx in Louisville, KY. Jim's primary work on the Vehicle Sub-team is as a composite material manufacturing engineer.

Joellyn Ketron

Vehicle Member

Joellyn is a junior Mechanical Engineering student at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. This will be her 3rd year on the team. She designed the 2018 vehicle subscale, 2019 vehicle nosecone, and the epoxyless booster Fin Retaining System. Through her role she has gained an understanding of composites, machining, and engineering design processes. Her skills have earned her a co-op at GE Aviation, and will continue to support the vehicle design in the 2020 season.

Alex Cooper

Payload Member

Alex is a junior Electrical and Computer Engineering major at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. This will be his 2nd year on the team. Previously, Alex developed his circuit design ability in creating test articles for the team. This year his focus will continue on developing electrical designs for the upcoming payload.

Team Alumni

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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
Jacob Cassidy
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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)