Julie Pham Recognized with Aviation Week Network’s 20 Twenties Program Award

Aerospace engineering graduate student Julie Vi Pham is one of only 20 students across the globe named to Aviation Week Network’s 20 Twenties Class of 2021. Winners are selected not only for their academic performance, but also for their ability to communicate the value of their research and to contribute to a broader community. According to Aviation Week Network’s press release, the program “brings together technology hiring managers, students and faculty worldwide to recognize what’s needed for business and academic growth and success.”

Pham, who received her B.S.E. in mechanical engineering at Arizona State University, is pursuing a master’s degree and ultimately a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering at UT Austin under the advisement of Karen Willcox, a professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics (ASE/EM), and the director of the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences.

“My research uses scientific machine learning and physics-based reduced-order models to provide a mathematical foundation for predictive digital twins in the aerospace field,” said Pham. “This work advances the robustness of real-time control and decision-making in autonomous systems, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and hypersonic vehicles.”

CFD simulation of IC3X hypersonic vehicle

Pham is currently developing a novel sensing strategy for hypersonic environments, called the Full-Airframe Sensing Technology (FAST).

“The strategy employs inverse methods with machine learning to infer quantities of interest, such as distributed pressure loads, from indirect measurements of structural deformation. The FAST methodology can enable advanced hypersonic vehicles with predictive sensing and control capabilities.”

Pham said she is also passionate about contributing to the broader STEM community through teaching, mentorship and outreach. During her undergraduate years, she played an active role in tutoring and research mentoring to help students from all backgrounds succeed in technical fields. At UT, Pham is serving as the president of the Graduate Ladies of Aerospace and Mechanics (GLAM) organization which was established to create a welcoming environment for all ASE/EM graduate students, and to promote diversity and inclusion in these fields.

Pham plans to work as a research engineer in either industry or at a national laboratory after graduating from UT Austin.