Graduate Students

Colin Pavan

Colin Pavan is a graduate student in the Aerospace Plasma Group working towards his PhD. He has a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo (2017) and a SM in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT (2019). His research interests are in non-thermal plasmas and their applications, particularly in the field of plasma assisted combustion. His research is based on both experiments and simulation, with a focus on developing reduced order models to capture complicated physical processes. He has previously worked for Boeing Research and Technology investigating electrostatic ignition hazard mitigation in composite aircraft and participated in a MISTI research program to study aircraft triggered lightning protection at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

Lanie McKinney

Lanie McKinney is a 1st year SM student in the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department. She is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she attended the University of Tulsa earning dual BS degrees in Physics and Applied Mathematics (2022). Her research interests are directed towards developing non-thermal plasma technologies that engender future space exploration. She is currently working on modeling and building a proof-of concept plasma-assisted CO2 conversion reactor for applications to Mars ISRU/life-support and Earth-based carbon capture technology. In addition, she is a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in Plasma physics. In her free time, Lanie enjoys playing lacrosse, weightlifting, taking night-sky photos, and writing music.

Lee Strobel

Lee is a 2nd year PhD student in Aeronautics and Astronautics, conducting research in the Aerospace Plasma Group. He received his Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Cambridge University and recently worked as a Senior Engineer in the Oil & Gas Industry. His research interests include fundamentals of streamers and other atmospheric plasma discharges, as well as numerical modeling. Personal interests include rock music, traveling and spending time with his family and two children.

Raphaël Jean Dijoud

Raphaël is a 2nd year SM student in AeroAstro at MIT. He is coming from Centrale Supélec engineering school in Paris, France. He joined the Aerospace Plasma Group in 2021 and started research on plasma-assisted combustion for aircraft applications. His research interests are numerical modeling of complex physical phenomena requiring a multi-fields approach. In particular, he is motivated in improving combustion processes and thermal management in aerospace propulsion. He is currently working on non-thermal plasmas, and chemical-fluid interactions in electric discharges. He had previously worked in aerospace thermal management in various structures, including the start-up Blue Spirit Aero, the aircraft engines manufacturer Safran, and at the French National Research Center.

Samuel Austin

Sam Austin is a 4th year graduate student working jointly in the Aerospace Plasma Group and Aerospace Computational Design Laboratory toward his PhD. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Aerospace Engineering, also from MIT (2020 and 2022). His research interests are in the computational modeling of aircraft triggered lightning and its direct effects, including sparking and ignition hazards. Previously, he has investigated physics-based approaches to aircraft zoning and the extension of numerical zoning tools to unconventional aircraft. He has previously worked for Northrop Grumman, SpaceX, and Impulse Space.


Claire Johnson

(AeroAstro 2024,

Ariel K. Mobius

(AeroAstro 2024,

Nicholas Laws

(Mech. Engineering 2024,

Zen Chi Ho Sang

(AeroAstro 2025,

Owen K. Matteson

(AeroAstro 2025,

Gabriella McDonald

(AeroAstro 2024,

APG Administrative Assistant

Andrés Forero

APG Visiting Student Alumni

Sankarsh R. Rao

The University of Texas (Austin), 2022

Pol Fontanes

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), 2019, 2022

Hector Candela

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), 2022

Michele Urbani

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), 2019


Jose Betances


Grace Mao


Ethan Sit


Xavier Bell


Sharil Maredia


Devin Johnson


Thomas Edelman


Matthew H. Clingerman


Matthew C. Campbell


Tyler C. Worthley


Sean Parks