Aerospace graduate student receives NDSEG Fellowship


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Belen Veras-Alba, doctoral student in aerospace engineering, recently received a 2017 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship.

Sponsored and funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the NDSEG Fellowship is a highly competitive fellowship that is awarded to U.S. citizens and nationals who intend to pursue a doctoral degree in one of fifteen supported disciplines, including aeronautical and astronautical engineering. NDSEG selections are made by the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research and the Army Research Office.

Veras-Alba’s current research, under the supervision of Jose Palacios, assistant professor of aerospace engineering, involves using computational fluid dynamics to model the interaction between low-pressure compression fans and jet engine casings where ice has been experimentally determined to accrete. The fundamental understanding of the physics involved on the accretion of partially melted ice crystals inside of engines will assist with the design of future engine configurations that will prevent such events.

Her previous research focused on the study of deformation and breakup of supercooled large droplets to gain knowledge of the ice accretion chord-extent limits, which is critical for the design of ice protection system coverage for lifting surfaces.

Veras-Alba was the recipient of an American Helicopter Society (AHS) International Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarship in 2016. She is also a member of the Penn State chapter of Sigma Gamma Tau, a national aerospace engineering honor society; Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honor society; and the Penn State chapter of AHS International, where she serves as outreach coordinator.

NDSEG Fellowships last for four years and pay for full tuition and all mandatory fees, a monthly stipend and up to $1,000 a year in medical insurance. The DoD has awarded nearly 3,400 NDSEG fellowships since the program's inception in 1989.


Share this story:

facebook linked in twitter email


Chris Spallino



The Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering, established in 1961 and the only aerospace engineering department in Pennsylvania, is consistently recognized as one of the top aerospace engineering departments in the nation, and is also an international leader in aerospace education, research, and engagement. Our undergraduate program is ranked 15th and our graduate programs are ranked 15th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, while one in 25 holders of a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering in the U.S. earned it from Penn State. Our students are consistently among the most highly recruited by industry, government, and graduate schools nationwide.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry. Through an innovative curriculum and world-class instruction that reflects current industry practice and embraces future trends, Penn State Aerospace Engineering graduates emerge as broadly educated, technically sound aerospace engineers who will become future leaders in a critical industry

Department of Aerospace Engineering

229 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2569