Hu, Stephani awarded Air Force Young Investigator grants


MechSE assistant professors Yuhang Hu and Kelly Stephani were among just five researchers from Illinois to be awarded grants from the Air Force Young Investigator Research Program.
The Air Force Office of Scientific Research announced $20.8 million in grants to 58 scientists and engineers from 41 research institutions and small businesses who submitted winning research proposals. Hu and Stephani were selected from more than 230 proposals.
The YIP program is for scientists and engineers across the country who received their PhD in the last five years and show exceptional promise for conducting research. With three-year grants, the program’s goal is to give young researchers the opportunity to do creative research in science and engineering and offer early career development. 
The other three researchers from Illinois were Qian Chen and Pinshane Huang (both from Materials Science and Engineering), and Daniel Krogstad (Applied Research Institute). 
Hu’s project is titled, “Tough Gel: A Perfect Platform for Designing Chemomechano-chemically Responsive Multi-functional Materials.” Stephani will focus on “Fundamental Energy Transfer Mechanisms in High Temperature Phonon-mediated Gas-surface Interactions.”
Hu joined MechSE in January 2015. She earned her PhD in engineering sciences from Harvard University in 2011. Her research group focuses on new materials and phenomena emerging at the interface of mechanics and materials chemistry.
Stephani joined the department in August 2014, and earned her PhD in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012. She leads the Computational Kinetics Group, which utilizes direct simulation Monte Carlo, deterministic Boltzmann solvers and Molecular Dynamics for improved modeling of non-equilibrium and non-continuum flows, fundamental transport processes, and material response within multi-scale, multi-physics systems.