AME Students Receive 2021 WiSE Northrop Grumman Fellowships

November 2, 2021

The following USC Viterbi School of Engineering students received $2,000 Northrop Grumman Top-Off Fellowships for the 2021-22 school year. The fellowships support female students in science and engineering and promotes their professional development.

The students below are all studying with the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering . (Photos and Bios courtesy of WiSE.)

Katie Araya. PHOTO Courtesy of WiSE.

Katie Araya

Katia Araya is a senior mechanical engineering student at USC Viterbi. She has also completed a Spanish minor through the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and has pursued an interdisciplinary general education through the Dornsife Thematic Option Honors Program. She has been a research assistant at M.C. Gill Composites Center through the Viterbi Fellowship program since 2018.

At USC Viterbi, she has primarily contributed to oxide-oxide (ox-ox) Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) research. For her first CMC project, she performed the characterization of solvent-based and water-based Alumina (Al2O3) slurries in order to reach an understanding of mass loss, heat release and changes in viscosity that would result from different autoclave cure cycles used in manufacturing. In the past year, the CMC research has shifted focus towards alternate sintering methods, which combine materials without melting/liquifying them. She is currently assisting Ph.D. research working toward creating a novel Joule heating sintering method, Ultra-Fast High-Temperature Sintering (UHS), to decrease overall processing times and associated costs of conventional sintering methods for oxide ceramic powders, as well as for ox-ox CMCs, which has not been done using UHS before.



Peyton Erickson

Peyton Erickson is a sophomore mechanical engineering student at USC Viterbi. There, she is in the W.V.T Rusch Honors Engineering Program, as well as the Grand Challenge Scholar Program. She is involved with the student organizations SC Outfitters, 3D4E, Makers, and Society of Women Engineers, for which she served on the Officer Council last year. She is a Viterbi Student Ambassador and also a manager for the USC women’s soccer team.









Susan Eschelbach

Susan Eschelbach is a Master’s student at USC studying Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in design and Human Factors Engineering. She is also pursuing a certificate in Product Innovation from the Iovine Young academy at USC. Susan has had some experience working in the defense industry and hopes to explore product design and industrial design in the future; by combining her technical knowledge with her creativity. In her free time, Susan enjoys taking care of her plants, reading, traveling, and painting.








Jenna Matus

Jenna Matus is a senior at USC studying mechanical engineering. She is also pursuing her Master’s degree in the same major through the Progressive Degree Program. On campus, Jenna is part of Rocket Propulsion Lab and the Freehand team in 3D4E, a group that builds prosthetic hands for kids. In her free time, she enjoys playing volleyball, theme parks, and hiking with her dog.









Alexis Marquez

Alexis Marquez is a graduate student in Product Development Engineering at the University of Southern California. His research interests include rocketry, aircraft design, and foreign policy. Prior to his arrival at USC, Alexis received a B.S. from San Jose State University in Aerospace Engineering. He led a team in the conceptual and preliminary design of a solar-powered, high- altitude aircraft and presented the research at an AIAA regional conference. Alexis has also designed and launched I and J-class rockets and respectively acquired Tripoli Rocketry Association Level I and II certifications. Outside of the classroom, Alexis enjoys traveling, experiencing new cultures, and making meaningful connections with new people. He is always looking for a new adventure and opportunities to see the world.



Published on November 2nd, 2021

Last updated on November 2nd, 2021