Prof. Carmen Guerra-Garcia wins NSF CAREER Award

Carmen Guerra-Garcia, the Draper Career Development Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The award is one of NSF’s most prestigious recognitions in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education.

The grant will support her project “From Flamelet to Full-Scale: Advancing Plasma-Assisted Combustion for Low-Emission Sustainable Fuels.” This project is a timely contribution to the future of aviation sustainability by utilizing plasma-technology to facilitate combustion processes that burn leaner, reduce emissions, and introduce zero-carbon alternatives. 

The project focuses on connecting the knowledge acquired from laboratory settings and one-dimensional flamelet models to metrics relevant to industrial systems, to accelerate their introduction in real-world scenarios. Guerra-Garcia is integrating an education and broadening participation plan, through which she will collaborate with the AeroAstro HBCU Partnership Program and the MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP) to provide summer research opportunities for undergraduate students, as well as develop digital educational content for an undergraduate course on Aerospace Propulsion.

‘‘I am indebted to my collaborators and my very talented students who have been instrumental in getting our research to this point (and beyond!), my Department, and of course to the NSF CBET division!” said Guerra-Garcia. “The NSF CAREER Award will allow me to continue to grow as a researcher and educator, and really think about these two pillars of professorship in a synergistic manner. We will explore how plasma-assistance can come to the rescue for a green combustion future, and boost the impact of our research by educating the next generation of leaders with a multidisciplinary background in plasma science, combustion, and aerospace propulsion.”

Guerra-Garcia is the Principal Investigator for AeroAstro’s Aerospace Plasma Group.