Meet the HAPL team!

The members of the High-Speed Aerodynamics and Propulsion Laboratory come from a variety of backgrounds and are committed to solving the most challenging problems facing hypersonics and unsteady fluid dynamics today.


Assistant Professor Stuart Laurence

Hailing from New Zealand, Prof. Laurence completed his undergraduate education at the University of Auckland, receiving a B.A./B.Sc.(Hons) in Philosophy, Physics and Applied Mathematics in 2001. Later that year he moved to the US to pursue his graduate studies at the Graduate Aeronautical Laboratories, California Institute of Technology (GALCIT), Pasadena. He received his M.S. in 2002 and his Ph.D in 2006, the latter under the supervision of Prof. Hans Hornung, with the thesis title "Proximal Bodies in Hypersonic Flow". Following a short post-doctoral stint at GALCIT, Prof. Laurence shipped off to China for a year to study Mandarin. At the beginning of 2009, he moved to Goettingen, Germany, where he worked as a research scientist at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) for almost five years. In July 2013, he took up his present position at the University of Maryland.

Graduate Students

William Starshak

B.S. in Physics, Georgetown University (2012)

Research Interests: Hypersonic shock-wave boundary-layer interactions, scramjet combustion

Nathan Shumway

Nathan grew up watching airplanes fly in and out of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and grew to foster a deep appreciation for flight. Earning his Bachelor's at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2013, he quickly became fascinated with aerodynamics while conducting wind tunnel experiments on campus and working with the Design Build Fly team. After his time at Rose-Hulman, Nathan came to the University of Maryland where he has investigated hypersonic boundary-layer transition and is currently working to understand the role of wing deformations in dragonfly flight. Nathan is a National Defense Science and Engineering Fellow.

Richard Kennedy

Rich is currently an aerospace engineering Ph.D. student and National Defense Science and Engineering Fellow (sponsored via the Air Force Research Lab). He is broadly interested in experimental hypersonics. Currently, he is working in conjunction with AEDC Hypervelocity Tunnel 9 on novel optical methods to examine hypersonic boundary layer transition. Prior to UMD, Rich received an M.S. in Fluid Mechanics from École Polytechnique, an M.S. in Aeronautics from Caltech, and a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University at Buffalo, SUNY.

Cameron Butler

Cameron graduated from the University of Virginia in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, joining the lab in Spring 2015 and performing computational investigations of both low- and high-speed flows. His low-speed work focuses on Detached Eddy Simulation of iced wing models, while high-speed studies include the characterization of ethylene combustion within a cavity-stabilized scramjet combustor as well as aerodynamic analysis of a Mach 8 sphere-cone reentry capsule. Cameron's primary research interests are hypersonic air-breathing propulsion, particularly scramjet design, operation, and unstart phenomena. Cameron is a National Defense Science and Engineering Fellow.

Alvin Pee

Alvin hails from the sunny little island of Singapore where he somehow discovered an interest in supersonic flight in a country with virtually no airspace. He did his undergraduate studies in Aerospace Engineering at Nanyang Technological University where he did some theoretical work on supersonic flows and a final year project on pulsed plasma thrusters. He also spent a semester at the US Air Force Academy working on the FalconLAUNCH static fire instrumentation and flyout simulations. Alvin graduated in 2012 and thereafter worked for a few years as an industry engineer. He joined UMD in fall 2015 with a private sector scholarship and is currently working on the experimental setup for the lab. His main research interests are hypersonic flow and combustion processes in the high Mach number regime.

Tom Whalen

Tom joined the team after obtaining a Bachelor's in Physics from Dartmouth College in 2014 and working briefly at the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, MA. His research interests lie in experimental characterization of hypersonic fluid-structure interactions, optical techniques for identifying boundary-layer transition, and computational studies of the off-design performance of hypersonic waveriders. When not at his desk, Tom enjoys hiking, sailing, and writing sonnets about hypersonics.

Laura Paquin

Born in Baltimore, MD, Laura is a second-year Master's student and National Defense Science and Engineering Fellow. She attended the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN, and graduated in 2016 with her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. Having participated in a few years of undergraduate research in experimental hypersonic boundary layer transition, she intends to continue working in experimental hypersonics at UMD by exploring the capabilities of high-speed TSP and PIV. In her free time, she enjoys running and baking.

Graeme Gillespie

Graeme is a first year Master’s student from London, Ontario, Canada. He attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Engineering Physics. Graeme has always been interested in learning about the science of flight, but it was his involvement on an undergraduate rocket design team that propelled his fascination. Graeme’s research interests lie in experimental hypersonics and he plans to explore the calibration of measurement techniques for hypersonic sensors. In his free time, Graeme enjoys hiking and watching sports.

Distinguished HAPL Alumni