Gothard Earns Top Three Finish in AIAA Region II Student Conference

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) sponsors student conferences in each AIAA Region as a means to encourage students in aerospace-related fields to discuss research, exchange knowledge, and generate interest in the field of aerospace engineering.

The AIAA Region II Student Conference is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to present their research to their peers and professional members from industry. The students’ papers and presentations—in three categories: Undergraduate, Masters, and Undergraduate Team— were set to be judged and eligible for monetary prizes. However, due to COVID-19, the conference was cancelled.

Despite the circumstances, judges still evaluated conference papers submitted by each student to determine the top 3 papers in each category. William Gothard submitted a research paper to the undergraduate category entitled “Store Separation Trajectory Clusters Using Machine Learning.” Gothard outlined computer-based learning methods used to help understand the behavior of a slender body as it exits a cavity into a subsonic flow with a known flow disturbance. The paper earned a 3rd place finish in the competition. Gothard said, “Despite not being able to physically attend the conference and present my work in person, I gained invaluable experience by working with Dr. Granlund and various graduate students to help get the paper finished and submitted.”

“This competition was a great way for me to sort of wrap up my undergraduate career at NC State, and I was elated to represent NC State in the competition” said Gothard.

William Gothard graduated summa cum laude in May of 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. He has been involved in undergrad research for 2.5 years with Dr. Kenneth Granlund, and is originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Gothard also just commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force and will be attending Pilot Training upon entering active duty. “My fascination with aviation guided my undergraduate career and research involvement and will continue to guide my career in the Air Force moving forward” said Gothard.