Oldani named DOT Student of the Year

12/13/2018 11:10:36 AM Veronica Holloway

Ann Oldani
Ann Oldani
MechSE graduate student Anna Oldani has been named Department of Transportation Student of the Year—the top student award in her field.

Oldani, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Fellow, earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural and biological engineering (2012) and master’s degree in mechanical engineering (2014) from Illinois and now works in Professor Tonghun Lee’s research group, pursuing her PhD in ME. She works in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment – also known as the Aviation Sustainability Center (ASCENT).

ASCENT is a research organization led by Washington State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the FAA, the Department of Defense, Transport Canada, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The center includes work from universities nationwide and collaborates with a number of industry partners.  ASCENT strives to reduce the environmental impact of aviation as well as discover science-based solutions to aviation’s biggest challenges.

Within ASCENT as well as in Lee’s group, Oldani works on developing the national jet fuel database. She uses existing data as well as experimentation and modeling of jet fuels to better understand their characteristics and identify applications in which they would be advantageous. Providing more accessibility to jet fuel data can expedite alternative fuel integration into current systems, allowing for more consistent optimization of fuel usage in industry. The goal of the database is that it will eventually be shared by academic, government, and industrial communities to offer comprehensive and centralized information. Oldani’s contributions to this effort are what earned her the FAA’s acknowledgement.

“I believe this award is a reflection of the strength of the ASCENT program and of all that has been accomplished through the efforts of many groups across the country,” Oldani said. “I am honored to have received this award, glad that the valuable work of the many individuals involved will be recognized. As a researcher, it is incredibly rewarding to see your work acknowledged by the greater community. I believe this work is crucial in ensuring a viable, sustainable route to meeting our future energy needs.” 

Oldani plans to continue her work in advancing alternative energy and supporting critical research that will provide solutions to current and future needs – striving to work at the intersection of fundamental learning and applied research. She hopes to create opportunities for critical research while supporting students in STEM fields. 

“I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Tonghun Lee, for his years of advice and support in the various projects we have been part of,” Oldani said. “His vision and belief in his students and their work is reflected in everything we have accomplished as a group, and I am very thankful for his leadership.”