Computational Science and Engineering Alumni

Since 2004, the SimCenter has had 40 PhD students and 43 Master’s students in Computational Engineering. The SimCenter builds a strong foundation for their students in engineering, applied computational mathematics, applied science computing, and team-oriented research. Our graduates are well prepared to succeed and become leaders in academia, private industry, and government across the country and around the world.  

Notable Alumni 

Dr. David Collao, SimCenter Alumni

Dr. David Collao

Ph.D. graduate in Computational Engineering in 2017

Dr. David Collao graduated from UTC with an MS (2011) and PhD (2017) in Computational Engineering. At UTC, the focus of Dr. Collao's PhD research was studying, via computational fluid dynamics simulations, how the operating stability of axial transonic compression systems was affected using a passive stability-enhancing method.

Today Dr. Collao is  a software and algorithms engineer at Branch Technology developing software tools and using them to create 3D grids that are “printed” by robots via extrusion. He says the most valuable skills that he learned working toward his PhD while at the SimCenter: mesh generation, computational geometry, and software development for scientific computing.

Dr. Collao's Advice for Current Students:

"Be willing to submit to the guidance of your professors. I found they’re willing to share their knowledge. Also, enjoy your friends in grad school. The friendships I’ve made in grad school have been tightest and most lasting even though these friends are thousands of miles away. And have fun!"

Dr. Philip Facker, SimCenter Alumni, 0217

Dr. Philip Fackler

Graduated in 2017 with a Ph.D. in Computational Engineering

Dr. Philip Fackler graduated from UTC with an MS (2013) and PhD (2017) in Computational Engineering.  His research focus was mesh generation—more specifically, populating and smoothing point distributions to match an arbitrary spacing field (which actually doesn’t involve a mesh). He says he's most proud of  the dynamic population control -- The algorithm could add and remove points as necessary to appropriately cluster points throughout the domain. From a single seed point, it could recursively spawn new points until the whole domain was filled in such a way that matched the spacing field pretty well and didn’t require much smoothing.

Dr. Fackler is a Research Software Engineer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The SimCenter provided education in computational simulation, mesh generation, parallelism with MPI and OpenMP, and numerical analysis. He says all of these things led directly to his position at ORNL.

Dr. Philip Fackler's Advice for Current Students:

"Aim to write “good” code. There’s a lot on the internet about that topic, but basically you’re codifying knowledge, and you want that to be understandable to other people."

Stay in Touch

To share your personal and professional accomplishments and to stay in touch with the SimCenter and your classmates contact Dr. James Newman at

Graduated Ph.D. Students:

  1. James Trimble, Ph.D., August 2019, Dissertation Title: "Network connectivity tracking for a team of unmanned aerial vehicles"
  2. Jhiin Joo, Ph.D., August 2019, Dissertation Title: "Large-Eddy Simulation of Turbulent Wall-Pressure Fluctuations Using the Finite Element Method"
  3. Philip W. Fackler, Ph.D., December 2017, Dissertation Title: "A physics-based adaptive point distribution method for computational domain discretization"
  4. William Lawton Shoemake, Ph.D., December 2017, Dissertation Title: "Linear elastic mesh deformation via localized orthotropic material properties optimized by the adjoint method"
  5. Kristen C. Karman, Ph.D., December 2017, Dissertation Title: "Higher order mesh curving using geometry curvature extrapolation"
  6. Tuo Liu, Ph.D., December 2017, Dissertation Title: "Automatic higher order mesh generation and movement utilizing spring-field and vector-adding"
  7. Xueying Zhang, Ph.D., May 2017, Dissertation Title: "Time-dependent adjoint-based optimization of photonic crystals and metamaterials using a stabilized finite element method"
  8. Max David Collao, Ph.D., May 2017, Dissertation Title: "Computational Study of the Effects of Protruding Studs Casing Treatment on the Performance of an Axial Transonic Turbofan"
  9. Weiyang Lin, Ph.D., December 2016, Dissertation Title: Design Optimization of Acoustic Metamaterials and Phononic Crystals With a Time Domain Method"
  10. Ethan Alan Hereth, Ph.D., December 2016, Dissertation Title: "Automatic Parallel Octree Grid Generation Software With an Extensible Solver Framework and a Focus on Urban Simulation"
  11. Arash Ghasemi, Ph.D., August 2016, Dissertation Title: "Spectral Hulls: a Degree of Freedom Reducing hp-Strategy in Space/Time"
  12. Faranak Behzadi, Ph.D., August 2016, Dissertation Title: "Solution of Fully-Coupled Shallow Water Equations and Contaminant Transport Using a Primitive Variable Riemann Solver and a Semi-Discrete SUPG Method"
  13. Cameron T. Druyor Jr., Ph.D., August 2016, Dissertation Title: "Advances in Parallel Overset Domain Assembly"
  14. Jaber Javanshir Hasbestan, Ph.D., August 2016, Dissertation Title: "Least Squares Spectral Element Method for Laminar and Turbulent Flows, –Continuous and Discontinuous Approaches–"
  15. Matthew D. O'Connell, Ph.D., August 2016, Dissertation Title: "A Fault Tolerant Grid Generation Technique"
  16. Arman Raoufi, Ph.D., August 2016, Dissertation Title: "Computational Design, Sensitivity Analysis and Optimization of Fuel Reforming Catalytic Reactor"
  17. Behrouz Shamsaei, Ph.D., August 2016, Dissertation Title: "On the Uncertainty Quantification and Non-Linear Hyper Elastic Simulation of Biological Tissues"
  18. Don C. Warrington, Ph.D., August 2016, Dissertation Title: "Improved Methods for Forward and Inverse Solution of the Wave Equation for Piles"
  19. Chao Liu, Ph.D., May 2016, Dissertation Title: "A Stabilized Finite Element Dynamic Overset Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations"
  20. Anshul Mittal, Ph.D., December 2015, Dissertation Title: "A Parabolized Navier-Stokes Method for Wind Farm Applications"
  21. Alma Cemerlic, Ph.D., August 2015, Dissertation Title: "Continuum Modeling of the Deceleration Transient State in Stochastic Traffic Flow"
  22. Behzad Reza Ahrabi, Ph.D., August 2015, Dissertation Title: "An hp-Adaptive Petrov-Galerkin Method for Steady-State and Unsteady Flow Problems"
  23. Christopher Bruce Hilbert, Ph.D., August 2015, Dissertation Title: "Tetrahedral Mesh Optimization and Generation via Topological Transformation and Gradient Based Node Perturbation"
  24. Srijith Rajamohan, Ph.D., August 2014, Dissertation Title: "A Streamline Upwind/ Petrov-Galerkin FEM Based Time-Accurate Solution of 3D Time-Domain Maxwell's Equations for Dispersive Materials"
  25. Nicholas G. Currier, Ph.D. August 2014, Dissertation Title: "Reacting Plume Inversion on Urban Geometries Through Gradient Based Design Methodologies"
  26. J. Taylor Erwin, Ph.D., December 2013, Dissertation Title: "Stabilized Finite Elements for Compressible Turbulent Navier-Stokes"
  27. Craig R. Tanis, Ph.D., December 2013, Dissertation Title: "A New Software Framework for Unstructured Mesh Representation and Manipulation
  28. Ashish Gupta, Ph.D., August 2013, Dissertation Title: "Preconditioning Methods for Ideal and Multiphase Fluid Flows"
  29. Lei Ji, Ph.D., April 2011, Dissertation Title: "Unstructured Grid Technologies for Hydrodynamic Applications with Bodies in Relative Motion and Mesh Deformation"
  30. Ryan S. Glasby, Ph.D., August 2011, Dissertation Title: "Computational Design for Electromagnetic Simulations"
  31. James S. Masters, Ph.D., December 2010, Dissertation Title: "Winslow Elliptic Smoothing Equations Extended to Apply to General Regions of an Unstructured Mesh"
  32. Vincent C. Betro, Ph.D. August 2010, Dissertation Title: "Fully Anisotropic Split-Tree Adaptive Refinement Mesh Generation Using Tetrahedral Mesh Stitching"
  33. Kyle J. Lange, Ph.D., July 2009, Dissertation Title: "Sensitivity Analysis for a Radio Frequency Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Discharge Simulation"
  34. Robert Glenn Brook, Ph.D., December 2008, Dissertation Title: "A Parallel, Matrix-free Newton Method for Solving Approximate Boltzmann"
  35. Louie C. Elliott, Ph.D., August 2008, Dissertation Title: "Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Simulation and Design with Numerical Adjoint Techniques
  36. Zaineddin Dweik, Ph.D., December 2007, Dissertation Title: "Computational Study of Turbomachinery-Related Flows and Heat Transfer in Buoyancy-Driven Rotating Cavities with Axial Cooling-Air Through-Flow"
  37. Mandar Sahasrabudhe, Ph.D., August 2008, Dissertation Title: "Unstructured Mesh Generation and Manipulation Based On Elliptic Smoothing and Optimization"
  38. Sagar Kapadia, Ph.D., August 2008, Dissertation Title: "Computational Design and Sensitivity Analysis of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells"
  39. Muhanad K. Hajjawi, Ph.D., August 2007, Dissertation Title: "Advanced Turbulence Closures for a Scalable Parallel Implicit Unstructured Grid Algorithm"
  40. Pradeep Sivakumar, Ph.D., December 2006, Dissertation Title: "Characteristic-Based, Parallel, Numerical Solver for the Shallow Water Equations on Unstructured Grids with Wet/Dry Interfaces"
  41. Chad E. Burdyshaw, Ph.D., May 2006, Dissertation Title: "Achieving Automatic Concurrency Between Computational Field Solvers and Adjoint Sensitivity Codes"
  42. Brian K. Lambert, Ph.D., December 2004, Dissertation Title: "Development and Validation of a Time Accurate Algorithm for Low Mach Number Compressible Flow"

Graduated M.S. Students:

  1. Jeffrey D. Cox, M.S., August 2016, Thesis Title: "Error Analysis of Higher Order Time-Domain Finite Element Methods for the One-Dimensional Maxwell's Equations"
  2. Jamasp Azarnoosh, M.S., August 2016, Thesis Title: "CFD Simulation of the Airflow through the Human Respiratory Tract"
  3. Walied Hassan, M.S., December 2015, Thesis Title: "Blade Resolved Simulation of Wind Farms"
  4. Mary Barker, M.S., August 2015, Thesis Title: "The Development of an all Quadrilateral Boundary Conforming Mesh Generator for High Order Finite Elements"
  5. Adam Croft, M.S., May 2015, (Non-thesis)
  6. Benjamin Chambers, M.S., May 2015, (Non-thesis)
  7. Spencer Klagstad, M.S., December 2014, (Non-thesis)
  8. Ya’nan Gong, M.S., December 2014, Thesis Title: "Implementation of Two-Dimensional Time Accurate Flow Simulation on Moving Mesh Exploiting Mesh Rupturing"
  9. Richard Ross Gruetzemacher, M.S., August 2014, Thesis Title: "Numerical Simulation of Airflow in a CT-based Human Airway Model With Physiologically Appropriate Boundary Conditions"
  10. Sean Smith, M.S., May 2014, (Non-thesis)
  11. Tony R. McDaniel, M.S., May 2014, Thesis Title: "A Numerical Investigation of Compressible Flow in a Curved S-Duct"
  12. Philip Wesley Fackler, M.S., December 2013, Thesis Title: "Physics-Based Point Placement by Particle Dynamics Simulation"
  13. Kristen Catherine Karman, M.S., December 2013, Thesis Title: "2-D CFD Design of the Cross-Sectional Shape of Arterial Stents"
  14. Xueying Zhang, M.S., October 2013, Thesis Title: "Higher-Order Petrov-Galerkin Methods for Analysis of Antennas"
  15. W. Lawton Shoemake, M.S., December 2013, Thesis Title: "Extension of A High-Order Petrov-Galerkin Implementation Applied to Non-Radiating and Radar Cross Section Geometries"
  16. Adam Cofer, M.S., December 2013, Thesis Title: "Validation of Interpolative Interfaces for Rotorcraft Applications"
  17. Weiyang Lin, M.S., May 2013, Thesis Title: "Computational Investigation of the Effects of Casing Treatments on the Performance of a Turbofan"
  18. Arash Ghasemi, M.S., May 2013, Thesis Title: "On the Theory of a Space-Time Solution Algorithm for Computational Science and Engineering"
  19. Guy Austin Flynt, M.S., May 2013, Thesis Title: "Computation of Heat Transfer in Turbine Rotor Blade Cooling Channels with Angled Rib Turbulators"
  20. Jessica Elaine Kress, M.S., December 2012, Thesis Title: "An Unstructured Grid Incompressible Navier-Stokes Algorithm for Convective Heat Transfer Based on Artificial Compressibility"
  21. Nicholas Szapiro, M.S., August 2012, Thesis Title: "Mesh Generation Using a Correspondence Distance Field"
  22. Shane Edmond Sawyer, M.S., August 2012, Thesis Title: "Analysis and Implementation of a High-Order Reconstruction Algorithm for an Unstructured Finite Volume Flow Solver"
  23. John Steffan, M.S., December 2011, (Non-thesis)
  24. Cameron T. Druyor, Jr., M.S., August 2011, Thesis Title: "An Adaptive Hybrid Mesh Generation Method For Complex Geometries"
  25. Matthew David O'Connell, M.S., August 2011, Thesis Title: "Comparison Of Two Methods For Two Dimensional Unstructured Mesh Adaptation With Elliptic Smoothing"
  26. William Emerson Brock V, M.S., August 2011, Thesis Title: "Design Optimization Using CAD Parameterization Through CAPRI"
  27. Max David Collao, M.S., August 2011, Thesis Title: "Generation and Optimization of Spacing Fields"
  28. Jason A. Heacker, M.S., May 2011, Thesis Project Title: "A Study in Aerodynamic Drag Reduction for a Small Travel Trailer"
  29. Christian de la Peña, M.S., December 2010, (Non-thesis)
  30. Dawn Ellis, M.S., August 2010, (Non-thesis)
  31. Nicholas G. Currier, M.S., August 2010, Thesis Title: "A Hybrid Method for Flows in Local Chemical Equilibrium and Nonequilibrium"
  32. Benjamin C. Johnson, M.S., May 2010, Thesis Title: "A Numerical Investigation of S-Duct Flows with Boundary-Layer Ingestion"
  33. Jacob Chackasseril Varghese, M.S., December 2009, Thesis Title: "Sonic Boom Prediction Methods Using Feature-Based Adaptation of Unstructured Meshes"
  34. Melissa Graves-Brook, M.S., May 2009, (Non-thesis)
  35. Justin Whitt, M.S., April 2009, Thesis Title: "Unstructured, Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes Model of the NREL Phase VI Wind Turbine"
  36. Christopher Bruce Hilbert, M.S., April 2009, Thesis Title: "A Lawson-like Algorithm for the Triangulation of Points in Three-Dimensions"
  37. Matthew Jackson, M.S., August 2008, (Non-thesis)
  38. Ryan Hulguin, M.S., August 2008, Thesis Title: "Direct Numerical Solution of Nonlinear Model Boltzmann Equations"
  39. Kyle J. Lange, M.S., August 2007, Thesis Title: "A Fully Implicit Characteristic-Based Algorithm for a One Dimensional Radio Frequency Glow Discharge Fluid Simulation
  40. Vincent C. Betro, M.S., August 2007, Thesis Title: "Parallel Hierarchical 2D Unstructured Mesh Generation with General Cutting
  41. Brent J. C. Mitchell, M.S., May 2007, Thesis Title: "A Nonmatching and Sliding Interface Method for Unstructured Flow Simulations"
  42. Robert Glenn Brook, M.S., December 2004, (Non-thesis)
  43. James Beasley, M.S., December 2004, Thesis Title: "Validation of an Unstructured Flow Solver for Oblique Shocks and Expansion Fans"