AIAA LA-LV Universty Student Branches mini-Conference 2021

March 6 @ 10:00 am 3:30 pm PST

(March 6, 2021) (New! Breakout Session added to meet with individual speakers/panelists) (New Panelist Added!) AIAA LA-LV University S

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Saturday, March 6, 2021, 10 AM PST (Add to Calendar)

AIAA LA-LV University Student Branches mini-Conference 2021

Please join us and care about / support the rising stars of American aerospace! Also share your experiences with them. Students will present / talk about their projects and life in their pursuit of their career. The career panel and other sessions will offer professional inspirations and guidance as well. (Exhibitors are welcome.) (Please see below and more in the RSVP & Information Page for more information. Thanks!)


Tentative Agenda (All Time PST (Pacific Standard Time)

(Any adjustment, or brief introduction for exhibitors (if any), will be updated.

10:05 AM PST: Welcome

10:10 AM PST: Mr. J. Philip Barnes (Pelican Aero Group) Professional Session 1

10:55 AM PST: University Student Branches Group and Individual talks Session 1

11:55 AM PST: Dr. Nahum Melamed (Aerospace Corp.) Professional Session 2

12:25 PM PST: Mr. Bill Kelly (Aerojet-Rocketdyne Retired) Professional Session 3

12:55 PM PST: University Student Branches Group and Individual talks Session 2

01:30 PM PST: Career Panel Discussion and further Q&A

02:30 PM PST: Breakout meeting 1-1 or 1-few with the speakers/panelists

(Panelists: Prof. Claire Leon, Mr. J. Philip Barnes, Dr. Nahum Melamed, Mr. Bill Kelly, Sina Aboutorabi) (More TBD)

03:30 PM PST: Adjourn (and networking if preferred)

Aircraft Energy Gain From an Atmosphere in Motion

What does a regenerative-electric aircraft have in common with the wandering albatross? Join J. Philip Barnes, Senior Technical Fellow of Pelican Aero Group and 40-year veteran of air-vehicle and subsystems performance analysis at Northrop Grumman, for technical explanations and simulations showing how both extract energy from vertical or horizontal winds to augment or sustain continuous flight expending almost no energy.


Mr. J. Philip Barnes

Senior Technical Fellow, Pelican Aero Group

With an MSAE from Cal Poly Pomona and BSME from the University of Arizona, Phil has authored AIAA, SAE, AAS, and ASME papers on diverse topics including electric flight, aerodynamics, propellers, and the mechanics of gears, Keplerian orbits, and dynamic-soaring flight. Recently named Cal Poly Aero Engineering Alum of the Year, where he presented Learning From the Birds to graduates, families, and faculty, Phil has given several invited, travel-paid lectures at universities including USC, OSU, UIUC, and Univ. of Dayton. Phil frequently mentors engineering students with their capstone projects, and the fruits of such collaboration often appear in his technical papers and presentations.

Introduction and NEOs Deflection App brief demo


Dr. Nahum Melamed

AIAA Distinguished Lecturer

Project Leader

The Aerospace Corporation

Dr. Nahum Melamed is a project leader at The Aerospace Corporation since 2003. He received BS and MS in Aerospace Engineering from the Technion, Israel, and PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech. His expertise include Orbital Mechanics and Optimal Guidance. His key activities include Planetary Defense from Near Earth Objects, Space Debris Mitigation and Flight SW Validation.

He leads a collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) developing a physics based web NEO Deflection App, or NDA, to design NEO deflection missions and gain insights on the challenges involved. This includes descriptions and tutorials that are necessary to interpret the data, supports planetary defense conferences, workshops and exercises, and is available online Dr. Melamed serves on planetary defense conferences and planetary defense exercises organizing committees, gives talks at these venues, and instructs a planetary defense class at Aerospace.

Resumes and Interviews In Aerospace

Mr. Bill Kelly

Aerojet-Rocketdyne Retired

Bill Kelly is a Senior Member of AIAA recently retired from the Aerojet Rocketdyne Corporation after 19 years of service plus 26 more years at other aerospace (Marquardt, Vacco Industries, etc.) and power industry (Babcock and Wilcox) companies . He was recently elected Treasurer of the Los Angeles-Las Vegas Section of AIAA. His experience at Babcock and Wilcox includes system design and start-up testing of large steam boilers and nuclear reactors (Three Mile Island, etc.). His experience at Marquardt includes small rocket engine and ramjet testing (NASP, etc.) and naval weapons systems development. His experience at Aerojet Rocketdyne includes large rocket engine system engineering, assembly and testing (RS-84, J-2X, RS-25, etc.) and system engineering for the MMRTG (Multi Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator). He holds a BSME from New York University, a MSNE from the University of Virginia and a post-graduate certificate in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from UCLA.lks at these venues, and instructs a planetary defense class at Aerospace.



Experienced electrical engineer, communications engineer, and astronautical engineer with a demonstrated 12 years history of working, teaching, and learning in the interdisciplinary areas of electrical engineering, communication systems, telecommunications, and aerospace engineering. Skilled in astronautics, spacecraft systems, deep space communications coding, digital space communications, algebraic coding, satellite communications, wireless communications, mobile communications, radar signal processing, RF systems, antenna, and microwave engineering. Sina has been part-time teaching faculty at CSUN Department of Electrical Engineering.


Dr. Claire Leon started her career at Hughes, Space and Communications Group in 1979. She gained experience across the company, through positions of increasing responsibility in Systems Engineering and Program Management.

She was promoted to Vice President of Navigation and Communications Systems within Boeing, in 2008, responsible for the AF satellite programs, as well as a number of classified programs. She transitioned to VP of National programs later in 2008, where she led the program turn around for a critical ACAT I program on the customer Contractor Responsibility Watch List (CRWL) that became a high performing program, delivered outstanding operational capability. She also transitioned the National Space and Communications Programs (NSCP) from a cost-plus to fixed price in response to customer affordability concerns. She retired from Boeing, in 2013, as the Vice President of National Programs.

Dr. Leon became a member of the Senior Executive Service in the Air Force, as the Director of the Launch Enterprise Directorate, at the LA Air Force Base, California, in 2014. She was responsible buying and launching rockets for the DoD, as well as leading the transition to the next generation of launch systems.

She is currently running the Graduate Program in Systems Engineering at Loyola Marymount University, as well as consulting for SAIC and Inside Out Learning.

Her education background includes: Ph.D. Executive Management, Drucker School of Business, CGU, Claremont, Ca, 2010, Masters of Business Administration, UCLA, Los Angeles, Ca, 1995, Masters of Management, University of Redlands, Redlands, Ca, 1986, BS, Mechanical Engineering, George Washington University, Washington D.C., 1979

Description of Dr. Claire Leon’s Consulting Services

Perform management consulting for Inside Out Learning, and SAIC, and possibly additional technical management companies. Tasks include executive presentation support, coaching, strategic planning, feedback on management approach for resolving challenging problems, as well as support to independent program review teams.

*AIAA California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) Branch

The CSULB student branch creates networking events, invites guest speakers to their campus, promotes aerospace engineering to the younger generation, and has 3 exciting projects (Beach Launch Team, Design, Build, Fly, and Long Beach Rocketry) for their members to take part in.

*AIAA University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Branch

AIAA at UCLA is a professional organization that connects students, industry representatives, and academics dedicated to the advancement of aeronautics and astronautics. Throughout the school year, our chapter collaborates with various aerospace companies to provide events that facilitate networking and promote professional development skills for our members. In addition to these opportunities, the backbone of our organization are the three student projects: Design/Build/Fly (DBF), the Rocket Project at UCLA (URP), and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). These projects expand the educational experience of AIAA members, allowing them to apply the concepts they learn in the classroom to real engineering missions, and problems.

*AIAA University of Southern California (USC) Branch

At the University of Southern California, AIAA serves as an interface between students and the professional aerospace community by hosting lectures, industry networking events, and career information sessions. Furthermore, our branch helps students learn about aerospace research underway at USC campus and supports submission to AIAA design competitions like this year’s Hybrid-Electric General Aviation Aircraft (HEGAA) competition.

*AIAA University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Branch

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas student branch serves the purpose of facilitating the implementation of aerospace related projects and research at UNLV and promoting the importance of aerospace among the student body. Students participate in radio controlled airplane and rocketry projects and competitions such as CanSat and 3D Printed Aircraft Competition, supplementing their education with hands-on experience. UNLV AIAA also participates in local, regional, and national events and conferences that allow students to meet and network with other students, industry professionals, and aerospace companies.

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AIAA LA-LV Education Chair

(Tentatively supported by the STEAM K-12 Chair Khushbu Patel) []

AIAA LA-LV Events Program Chair


[AIAA Los Angeles – Las Vegas (Professional) Section] | []



March 6
10:00 am – 3:30 pm PST
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AIAA Los Angeles-Las Vegas Section

(August 19, 2020) Project Boom Design Review

August 19, 2020 @ 4:00 pm 6:00 pm PDT

Project Boom Design Review -A student team aiming to design and build the world’s fastest student-made unmanned jet aircraft

Aug 19, 2020 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM (PT)

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Volunteers are needed for all AIAA activities, please contact

AIAA LA-LV Section

Project Boom Design Review

Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 4 – 6 PM (Add to Calendar) on Zoom



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Students (Colleges and Universities)! Please join the AIAA LA-LV Section in hosting the design review for Project Boom, an innovative student design team with members from around the world! Project Boom seeks to design and build the world’s fastest student-made unmanned jet aircraft, with the ultimate goal of breaking the sound barrier!

The Project Boom team has been working hard throughout the summer on the preliminary design of their vehicle. The team will present their design for 45 min followed by Q&A for 30 min. The ideas and comments obtained through this review will help better define the high-speed test vehicle, slated to undergo flight tests in Spring 2021. Come learn more about the project and mission and see if you are interested in being part of the team. This event is open to anyone interested in learning and/or engaging in student-led innovation in the aerospace industry.

Recruiters and engineers from across the aerospace industry are welcome to participate and review/judge.


For further questions or to volunteer as a judge, please contact Aldo Martinez ( (AIAA LA-LV Membership and Awards Chair)



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Contact: AIAA LA-LV Membership and Awards Chair, Aldo Martinez,



AIAA Los Angeles-Las Vegas Section

Diana Lopez: Member Spotlight Jan. 20, 2020

Diana Lopez:
California State University, Long Beach (CSULB)
AIAA CSULB Student Branch Outreach Officer,
Long Beach Aviation (LBA) co-Chair

Diana Lopez, a first generation transfer student at California State University, Long Beach, who was born from Mexican immigrants, knows the value of hard work and determination. Growing up and seeing how hard her parents had to work to provide for their family now reflects her current studies and work ethic. Along with the encouragement of friends, family, teachers and mentors, her parents were the ones who really pushed and motivated her to pursue a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

Her father has worked as a CNC Machinist for a small Aerospace company for many years. But she actually didn’t know much about what he did on a day to day basis or even what Aerospace Engineering was, until middle school, when she took a tour of a small aerospace company with her father, that she realized just how much went into the process of building an aircraft, from the specialized nuts and bolts aboard the plane to the importance of air traffic control. And it was on that tour, during a panel with various engineers, where one Hispanic female engineer gave a particularly inspiring speech about her journey to becoming a lead engineer that Diana realized engineering was what she wanted to do, not only because of the endless possibilities in aerospace, but also to inspire others to do so as well, just as that female engineer inspired her as a young girl.

So she attended community college in her hometown then transferred to California State University, Long Beach, to pursue her degree in Aerospace Engineering. Soon after being enrolled, she wanted to get involved in something important she had never done before. She started as a mentee for the outreach coordinator of the CSULB branch of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, then took the opportunity to become outreach coordinator the following semester. She is also co-chair of Long Beach Aviation, the only aeronautics-based project currently at CSU Long Beach aiming to create a space where students passionate about aeronautics such as herself can gather to gain project experience through projects, such as building RC aircraft and drones, as well as professional experience and guidance through networking opportunities. From kindergartners to community college students to current or transitioning students at CSULB, she hopes that through her position as outreach coordinator of AIAA-CSULB and as co-chair of LBA that she can inspire many others to not only follow a STEM path but stick with it, too, because she believes that no matter how difficult or inaccessible something may seem, if you shoot for the sky, or stars even, and with enough passion and determination like so many other leaders in Aerospace have shown, you just might make it there someday.