Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Student Wins 2 Prestigious UCF Scholarships

By: Mila Chial on

Nandhini Raju ’21MS, a UCF mechanical engineering Ph.D. candidate, recently won two prestigious scholarships for her work at UCF. She has been awarded the Dr. Subrato Chandra Memorial Scholarship from the College of Engineering and Computer Science for the 2022-2023 academic year and the Elisabeth M. and Winchell M. Parsons Scholarship from The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) chapter at UCF for the 2022-23 academic year in recognition of her contributions to the field of research.

Raju was born and raised in a small town, Gobichettipalayam, in India. There, technology and internet facilities were in high demand. A few times a month, a helicopter would fly over, leading her to develop a great interest in aircraft. Fascinated by the scientific possibilities of flight, she dreamed of becoming an aerospace engineer by dedicating most of her time to her studies in hopes that she could one day pursue her passion.

Raju earned a master’s degree in aerospace engineering at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore before attending UCF for a second master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a thermofluids track, due to her interest in academia.

Raju is currently working at The Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research (CATER), where she conducts research with Professor Jayanta Kapat from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Her cutting-edge work focuses on additive manufacturing (3D printing) for efficient high-temperature applications, such as gas turbine blade components. She aims to print a 3D gas turbine blade with a complex cooling channel by creating a unique process flow, which could have many scientific uses.

The scholarships, which amount to a combined $5,000, will help Raju advance her research and achieve her goals by providing her with the financial support she needs to continue her endeavors.

“Right from the beginning of my school days, all my education has been supported by sponsorships and scholarships. It is a great encouragement whenever I am under consideration for a scholarship. Prestigious and competitive awards such as the Dr. Subrato Chandra Memorial Scholarship and Elisabeth M. and Winchell M. Parsons Scholarship not only help me financially but provide me with great opportunities to produce efficient gas turbine components for sustainable power application with less carbon footprint by supporting my research,” she says.

The scholarships, which amount to a combined $5,000, will help Raju advance her research and achieve her goals by providing her with the financial support she needs to continue with her endeavors.

“Right from the beginning of my school days, all my education has been supported by sponsorships and scholarships,” she says. “It is a great encouragement whenever I am under consideration for a scholarship. Prestigious and competitive awards such as the Dr. Subrato Chandra Memorial Scholarship and Elisabeth M. and Winchell M. Parsons Scholarship not only help me financially but also motivate me to give my best in my research and continue to be part of all UCF-related engineering club-related activities.”

Raju believes in giving back to her community and is highly involved in many activities at UCF. She is president of the Students for Training, Research, and Education for Energy and Turbines (STREET) Club, where she conducts webinars to engage students, and is vice president of the Indian Graduate Student Association (IGSA). In addition, she works with various charities in the United States and abroad, such as Muthamizh Sangam of Central Florida and the HOPE3 Foundation; and the That’s My Child foundation in her home country of India, which aims to promote child education and community development.

Once she graduates with her doctoral degree in 2023, Raju aspires to work in a research lab as a scientist and work with young graduates, providing them with opportunities to collaborate and gain experience in aerospace and mechanical engineering.

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