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Carleton Knisely, a first-year Ph.D. student in the UCLA MAE Department, has been awarded a prestigious National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship.

Knisely is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering, with an emphasis on computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Along with Dr. Xiaolin Zhong’s research group, he is involved in a collaborative effort in using advanced numerical tools to investigate fundamental physics of hypersonic flows. One of the group’s primary interests is the effect of surface roughness on hypersonic boundary layer transition. Previous studies by the group have indicated that roughness elements placed in strategic locations on a body can stabilize the boundary layer and delay transition to turbulence. This allows for passive control of boundary layer transition and thereby reduces drag and aerodynamic heating, which can increase the fuel efficiency of a hypersonic vehicle. Carleton’s research will help describe the fundamental mechanisms of real-gas hypersonic boundary layer transition on an ablative surface.

The NDSEG Fellowship is sponsored and funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and is a highly competitive three-year award that provides full student support for three years, including full tuition and fees as well as a monthly stipend. On average, only 10% of student applicants are offered this fellowship, and this year there were over 3,000 applications nationwide. For more information on the DoD NDSEG Fellowship program, please visit