NYU Tandon teams rocket and row to triumph

Two Vertically Integrated Project teams awarded at national competitions

Group photos of the VIP aerospace team in maker garage and canoe team ay Nationals

NYU Tandon's Rogue Aerospace team (left) and Concrete Canoe Team both excelled in recent competitions

Whether they’re designing a rocket capable of flying an important payload or building a vessel that can float despite being made of concrete, NYU Tandon students who participate in the school’s Vertically Integrated Projects initiative prove the power of teamwork and collaboration.


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An unsinkable team

In 2022, members of Tandon’s Concrete Canoe team aced the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Metropolitan Regional Competition, marking the sixth consecutive regional win for the team and setting a new school record.

Thanks to that performance, the team headed once more to the nationals, held live at Louisiana Tech University in early June. (It was the first in-person national since 2019.) There they had an outstanding finish, placing first in the important category of final product.

"They set out to make the very best concrete canoe in the world, and they succeeded," said Magued Iskander, the chair of the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering. “As at their award-winning performance at regionals, the results are a testament to the students' hard work and the unwavering commitment and dedication of the team coach, Professor Weihua Jin.”

In other noteworthy accomplishments, the Tandon team placed third in the design paper category, and — in a crowded field — placed fifth overall.

Team Captains

  • Carina Tan (Co-project Manager)
  • Edgar Lei (Co-project Manager)
  • Michelle Ren (Junior Project Manager and Mix Captain)
  • Shakya Amaratunga (Mix Captain)
  • Wisely Chang Wu (Aesthetics Captain)
  • Emmalyn Romero (Structural Analysis Captain)
  • Joel Mendoza (Construction and Hull Design Captain)
  • Andre Wu (Paddling Captain)
  • Andrew Qu (Enhanced Focus Area/Machine Learning Captain)

Team Members

  • Fahim Ahmed
  • Amanda Chen
  • Brian Chen
  • David Dong
  • Yaman Garg
  • Saimul Hossain
  • Yanely Jean Louis
  • Jie Jin
  • Lin Lin Jin
  • Noshin Khan
  • Leann Kim
  • Sasha Kucher
  • Mengqi Li
  • Adiba Miazi
  • Meera Patel
  • Eric Piskarev
  • Samantha Rathe
  • Colin Saideman
  • Emily Tran
  • Danna Wu
  • Gavin Zhao
  • Hao Xian Zheng

Shooting for the moon

The NASA Student Launch, an annual research-based initiative aimed at designing, building, and flying payloads or vehicle components that advance high-power rocketry, is widely considered the most prestigious student aerospace competition in the nation.

Divided into several stages over seven months, the event includes an intensive proposal selection process and a series of reviews that mirror the NASA engineering design lifecycle, giving students an idea of what it would be like to be in NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations workforce.

Last year, at the end of that grueling process, NYU Tandon’s Rogue Aerospace was named the number-two rookie team of 2021 and garnered first place in the Project Review Award category; they were also named the Overall Winner of the Student Launch Design Division.

Now, no longer rookies, they acquitted themselves impressively among the more than 60 teams at the 2022 competition, garnering the Overall number-two spot in the University Student Launch Initiative Design Division and a cash prize of $1,500. In addition, the team received the first place in the AIAA Vehicle Design Award (for the most creative, innovative, and safety-conscious overall rocket design) and the Project Review Award (presented to the team with the best combination of written reviews and formal presentations).

While the COVID-19 pandemic prevented them from traveling to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center to launch their rocket in person both this year and last, they are looking ahead to that possibility next year. “ We plan to travel upstate for launches whenever possible throughout the year to get ready for 2023,” team co-president Harrison Berkley says. “So in addition to learning new hands-on skills and earning High-Powered Rocketry (HPR) certifications, members can probably look forward to some great road trips.”

Professor Rakesh Kumar Behera, who advises the team, notes, “NASA’s aim in organizing this competition is to prepare a new generation of scientists, engineers, astronauts, and explorers. I’m extremely proud that so many bright, enthusiastic, dedicated, and team-minded Tandon students are already making their mark among them.”

Team Captains

  • Herman Lin (President)
  • Ish Mahdi (Vice President)
  • Matthew Chan (Director of Operations)
  • Zoe Leung (Director of Operations)
  • Shreya Thakur (Director of Operations)
  • Edward Quinto (Electrical Lead)
  • Madeline Lyons (Mechanical Lead)
  • Alex Miller Sebastian Abreu (Mechanical Lead)
  • James Marbaix (Mechanical Lead)