National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Dennis Siedlak

Dennis SiedlakGeorgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Georgia

  • Ph.D. Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory, May 2016

Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH

  • B.S. Aerospace Engineering & Mechanical Engineering, 2012
  • Minor in Economics, 2012

NASA Academy Research Project
Fuel Droplet Vaporization Rate Measurement Technique (Subsonic Fixed Wing, Supersonic, and ERA Project)

Dr. Sarah Tedder and Mr. Dennis Huff

Hometown: Willoughby Hills, OH


Academic and Work Experience

During the summer of 2010, I interned at NASA Glenn through the LERCIP Program. Working under Dr. Sandra Olson and Dr. Paul Ferkul, I performed a myriad of experiments related to microgravity combustion. My main project involved performing and analyzing ground tests to support the Burning and Suppression of Solids (BASS) experiment that was recently performed aboard the ISS. In addition to these tests and implementing new video analysis software, I set up, performed, and analyzed 5 experiments in Glenn’s 5.18-second drop tower.

The next summer, I decided to get away from academia and took a position at Skrl Die Casting in Eastlake, OH as a process control engineer. Skrl is a small company that specializes in aluminum die-casting and their main products are natural gas meter bodies. After training on the floor for a month, which involved everything from inspection to actually running the die cast machines, I moved into process control. Being a small company, my roles involved everything from looking at samples and comparing various temperatures and pressures to managing the workforce. I also performed analysis related to furnace efficiency and other factory improvements.

I have gotten involved in two major projects during my last year at Case. I became involved with Case’s autonomous lawnmower, which has won the Institute of Navigation’s annual competition for the last 2 years. My main purpose was to improve upon their bump sensor to implement IR sensors to actually measure deflection, not just impact. I also took over last year’s Space Academy’s project, which is looking to use a weather balloon and drag shield to simulate the microgravity environment for a fraction of the cost of the drop tower. So far, we are still in the proving stages, but we have had 3 launches that were successfully recovered with video.

Memberships and Activities

  • Varsity football team: Linebacker: 2008-2009, Assistant: 2010-2011 (Injuries)
  • Society of Aerospace Engineers: 2009-Present
  • CWRU Cutter Autonomous Lawnmower: 2011-Present

Honors and Awards

  • CWRU President’s Scholarship
  • Ohio Academic Scholarship
  • Dean’s High Honors (3 semesters)
  • Dean’s Honors (3 semesters)

Skills and Certifications

  • Computer Languages and Programs: Solidworks, Unigraphics, Mastercam Matlab, Mathematica, Java, Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Project, and some Labview
  • Machine shop skills: Lathe, Mill, decent MIG welding, CNC mill, and design for rapid prototype

Hobbies and Interests

  • Football
  • Baseball (more softball nowadays)
  • Lifting
  • Working on little projects

Personal Statement

Growing up with parents involved in science and engineering, I was pretty much destined to end up somewhere in science. When I was a child, we had a documentary on VHS about the Apollo landings that I would watch constantly, and this really began my fascination with not only NASA and space but also pushing boundaries. I am entering Georgia Tech’s Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory next year mainly to learn and develop the skills to produce these advanced and reaching designs that will help to propel the aerospace industry forward. Especially considering the recent jump to commercial spaceflight, I am excited to use my skills to hopefully help produce the next big thing.

Professional and Educational Goals

I hope to continue to develop my design skills while studying at Georgia Tech while also developing the industry and academia relationships needed to be successful in society today. After attaining my Ph.D., I am very open to working in almost any aerospace field as a designer. Right now, I would be interested in working on engines at GE or rockets at SpaceX, but I have 4 years of research to narrow down my interests. I would love to reach space one day. So whether that be through the Astronaut Corps or a company like Virgin Galactic, I am definitely going to look to pursue any opportunity that could lead to that goal.