Devita McCullough of Colonial Heights, Va., and Andrew (A.J.) Wickersham of Blacksburg, Va., are the first Rolls Royce Doctoral Fellows of Virginia Tech's College of Engineering.
This fellowship award supports outstanding Ph.D. students in pursuit of research and scholarship on topics of interest to Rolls-Royce and to Virginia Tech. The goal is to work on the next generation of power systems for aerospace applications.
The fellowships are part of an innovative strategic partnership involving Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Rolls-Royce, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Examples of the partnership include the creation of the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) and the Commonwealth Center for Aerospace Propulsion Systems (CCAPS), which are being developed jointly by the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.
"These initiatives serve as focal points for strong interdisciplinary collaborations between industry, government, and academic organizations," said Srinath Ekkad, professor of mechanical engineering and director of CCAPS.
McCullough, now a member of the industrial and systems engineering department, received a master's degree in biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech and a bachelor's degree in manufacturing engineering at Virginia State University. She is a previous recipient of the George Washington Carver Scholarship. Since embarking upon studies at Virginia Tech, she has been an active member of the Alpha Epsilon honor society.
While pursuing her Ph.D., Devita will be working with Jaime Camelio, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering, who also serves as CCAM Director of Manufacturing Systems at Virginia Tech.
Wickersham holds a bachelor's degree with honors in mechanical engineering from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His Ph.D. studies at Virginia Tech lie in combustion diagnostics for aero-propulsion and gas turbine engines.
He will be working with Lin Ma, assistant professor of aerospace and ocean engineering, and Uri Vandsburger, professor of mechanical engineering, and a member of CCAPS. Specifically, his combustion diagnostic interests are in hyperspectral tomography and high-speed chemiluminescence measurements in reactive flows.