Meet the Team

Taylor Hsieh


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.

Matthew Cosgrove


Matthew is a Senior Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Louisville. This will be his third full year on River City Rocketry and, after a successful season as vehicle lead, he is looking forward to utilizing his leadership skills this season as team co-captain. 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.

Alex Basil

Payload Lead

Alex is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at the J.B. Speed of Engineering. Alex plans to utilize his 3 years of experience with leading the payload team in 2019. Alex has completed 3 internships with GE Aviation.

Justin Johnson

Liquid Rocket Engine Lead

Justin is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at 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 hopes to successfully lead River City Rocketry’s efforts in designing and building the team’s first liquid bi-propellant rocket engine in the 2018-2019 season.

Jarett Coyle

Recovery Lead

Jarett Coyle is a sophomore Mechanical Engineering student at UofL's JB Speed School of Engineering. He joined the rocket team hoping to make a future career in rocketry a reality. He is currently the lead recovery systems engineer for the team, researching and developing parachute designs and recovery methods. He has participated in various outreach events to teach grade school students about rocketry and astronomy, reaching over 2,000 children.

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.

Kristian Meyer

Data Acquisition Lead

Kristian is a Graduate Electrical Engineering major at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. This is his 3rd year with River City Rocketry and has been worked with the Payload Team in the past. Kristian is now focused on developing 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. He is excited to be working with small scale electronics and microcontroller programming on the team and hopes to enter the aerospace industry after graduation.

Erik Garcia

Payload Team

Erik is a senior mechanical engineering student at the University of Louisville. Erik has been on River City Rocketry for two years and is working 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.

Paulo Ribenboim

Payload Team

Paulo is a senior mechanical engineering major at the University of Louisville. This is Paulo's first year with River City Rocketry as he focuses his attention 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.

Samuel Williams

Liquid Rocket Engine Team

Samuel is a senior mechanical engineering student at the University of Louisville. This is Samuel’s second competitive season with RCR. He is currently developing the fluid system for the liquid engine development team. His experience with additive manufacturing during his co-ops at the University of Louisville Rapid Prototyping Center is leveraged in manufacturing several components of the rocket. He intends to join the aerospace industry as an additive manufacturing engineer after graduation.

Blaise Dannunzio

Payload Team

Blaise is a Mechanical Engineering senior at J.B. Speed School of Engineering, who is also pursuing a mathematics minor. This is his third year on River City Rocketry and is a member of the payload subteam. He Is looking forward to collaborating with the other subteams to learn more about River City Rocketry, and is confident in using his knowledge and passion for rocketry and aviation to be a part of the team.

Team Alumni

Gabriel Collins

Gabriel is a senior Mechanical Engineer at the University of Louisville. He has completed three co-ops at Preh IMA Automation. He hopes to use his experiences working in industry to begin a career in Aerospace Engineering.

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 Member (2016-2017)

Kevin Compton

Kevin is currently a senior mechanical engineering student at 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 the past two seasons, Kevin has been busy working 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.  With these skills he hopes to end up in the field of aerospace after graduation.

Co-captain (2015-2017), Recovery Lead (2015-2016), Team Member (2014-2015)

Ben Stringer

Ben is a Senior at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering and is majoring 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 student.

VDS Lead (2016-2017), Co-captain (2016-2017), AGSE Electrical Lead (2015-2016)

Wil Johnson

Wil is a senior mechanical engineering student at the university of Louisville\'s J.B. Speed School of engineering. 2016-2017 was Wil's second competition season where he acted as the team's experimental payload lead. Outside of the NASA student launch competition, Wil has also applied himself in the aerospace industry working as a Test Engineer at SpaceX and an Aircraft Structures Engineer at UPS airlines. Wil plans to apply the real world aerospace engineering experience he has gained in developing flight systems the team will utilize in the upcoming season. Wil plans on pursuing a career in aerospace engineering upon graduation.

Payload Lead (2016-2017), Team Member (2014-2015)

Evan Schurr

Evan is a senior physics student at the University of Louisville with a specialization in applied physics. 2016-2017 was his second year on the team. Largely self-taught, Evan has 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 Lead (2016-2017), Recovery Team (2015-2016)

Kenny Dang

​Kenny is a Senior Electrical and Computer Engineering student at the University of Louisville. As a second year member, he will be working on the hardware design of the Variable Drag System. Kenny has experience working in the aerospace industry at Gulfstream Aerospace for three co-op rotations. He plans to use his knowledge and interest in power electronics and circuit design to help the rocket accomplish the goals that the team sets fourth this year. Kenny plans to pursue a career in the aerospace industry for the future.

VDS Team

Alora Mazarakis

Alora 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 Lead (2017-2018)

Denny Joy

Denny is a senior at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, and is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. Being a web developer during his first season, he was able to collaborate with the Lead Electrical Engineer over this summer and learn Electrical Engineering Fundamentals, working in tandem on the VDS and develop a 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 and built applications to support the Software Engineering team. 

Nick Greco

Nick started launching hobby rockets in Louisville's Shawnee Park in the spring of 2011, and soon entered the world of high powered rocketry. The following summer, he founded the University of Louisville's NASA University Student Launch Initiative program, now known as River City Rocketry. He captained RCR from 2011 to 2013, leading the team to earning NASA's "Best New Team" and "Best Vehicle Design" awards, and finishing among the top five teams during their first two seasons. During the way, he completed his Level III certification through the Tripoli Rocketry Association. Nick interned at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center during the summer of 2013 and graduated at the end of the year with a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Upon graduating, he moved to Seattle to work for Blue Origin on reusable suborbital and orbital space systems. Nick still loves launching hobby and high powered rockets, and vows to one day launch a homemade rocket past 100,000 feet altitude.

Founder and Captain

Emily Robison

Emily completed her master degree in Mechanical Engineering in May 2016 from the University of Louisville's J.B. Speed School of Engineering. This is her fourth season with River City Rocketry. After helping the team take home the safety award and 2nd place during the 2013-2014 season, she led the team in winning the Safety Award for the next two seasons. She spent three semesters on co-op working on various programs with Raytheon Missile Systems. Through this experience, she has gained valuable knowledge in design, testing, assembly processes, and safety. 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 completed his degree in mechanical engineering in December of 2015 from the University of Louisville J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Passionate for everything aerospace, he spent the last three years at the university devoted to the NASA Student Launch team and led River City Rocketry to 3rd and 2nd place finishes respectively during his time as captain. Gregg enjoyed developing his project management skills, learning manufacturing processes, and engaging in community outreach. As a recent graduate, Gregg plans to continue growing personally and professionally in the aerospace industry. He is humbled by the sacrifices made by those who predate him and hopes to one day enhance the future of space exploration.

Team Captain, Integration Lead, Vehicle Design Lead

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

Kara Leeds

In December of 2014, Kara received her Master of Engineering degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Louisville. Her masters project focused on analyzing the mechanical properties of 3D-printed HY-100 steel alloy parts, which had undergone post-processing heat treatments. Currently, she is working abroad in Izmir, Turkey teaching students from all across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East about space sciences. Kara has a passion for lifelong learning and will pursue a career in additive manufacturing upon moving back to the United States in 2016. In her off time, Kara enjoys traveling and recently she 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

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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