Trenton Charlson – Program ManagerTrenton1

Trenton is an aspiring Rocket Scientist originally from Wisconsin. He is currently about to start his 3rd year at Georgia Tech studying Aerospace Engineering. Trenton took over program management during the Summer of 2017 after previously serving as Manufacturing Lead and has started the team on a path of rapid development through testing. Trenton aspires to work in Liquid Rocket Engine development. In YJSP, Trenton focuses on Propulsion and Structures, committing time to both teams. In his spare time, Trenton likes to build BattleBots with the Georgia Tech RoboJackets, and build chainsaw powered tricycles & other crazy vehicles ( in addition to other hobby metalworking projects. Trenton also likes to hike, camp, and explore the outdoors.


Teri Polly – Structures Lead

Teri is a fourth year Aerospace Engineering student from Bradenton, Florida. She joined YJSP at its start as a freshman and took over as Structures team lead in her sophomore year. She’s proud to see how far the program has come and looks forward to its continued progress. Teri hopes to someday work in launch vehicle development or mission operations. Having attained her Level 1 high powered rocketry certification, she’s currently working on getting her Level 2 as a member of the Ramblin Rocket Club. In her free time, Teri enjoys learning metalworking and machining, fencing, and painting.


Mike Van Akin – Propulsion Design LeaMike1d

Mike is a fourth year aerospace engineering student from Connecticut. He has a passion for human space exploration, and is currently focusing his studies on chemical and electric rocket propulsion. During his undergraduate career, Mike has worked on the hydrazine thrusters onboard NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope and Aerojet Rocketdyne’s RL10 upper stage engine. Throughout the academic year, Mike conducts research at Georgia Tech’s High Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory. Mike is proud to have been a member of the YJSP propulsion team since the program’s inception.


Suraj Buddhavarapu – Propulsion Test LeadSuraj1

For 19 year old Suraj Buddhavarapu, a love of building things is at the core of his identity. As a middle schooler, it meant repurposing lawn mower engines onto go-karts, constructing bicycles in his garage, and assembling small remote-control robots. As a high schooler, it meant leading a project to build a 9-foot liquid bipropellant rocket, converting a Mazda sports car into an electric vehicle, and establishing a student-led startup company determined to redefine how consumers interact with wearable fitness products. Suraj has always welcomed new opportunities to diversify his experience. Following two climate change documentaries for the University Of Washington School Of Environmental Science, he joined a team of students to draft a preliminary United Nations treaty for the allocation of international funds to help developing nations industrialize responsibly. As a sophomore studying mechanical
engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, Suraj has shown interest in several engineering
organizations, including Yellow Jackets Space Program and GT Solar Racing. Outside of school and
extracurriculars, Suraj loves
playing in cello ensembles, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and
tinkering with hobby projects.


Shrivathsav (Shriv) Seshan – Avionics LeadShriv1

Shriv is a third year Electrical Engineering student from Plainsboro, NJ. Ever since he’s learned how to code, he’s had a fascination with leveraging computers to improve the human experience – from automating tasks to building games. Now, Shriv is driven to connect the physical and virtual worlds together using the power of electronics, mathematics, and embedded systems. He grew up watching space shuttle launches and landings regularly on television, and has a passion for aviation, and all things that fly. He is hungry to apply his skills and interests in electronics to help make space more accessible to Georgia Tech, and really, the human race at large. When he’s not working, Shriv loves exploring the city of Atlanta, and reading about developments in math, electrical engineering, and aerospace.


Abhraneel (Neel) Dutta – Flight DynamicsNeel1

Neel is an Aerospace Engineering student from Raleigh, North Carolina. He’s been interested in outer space and rockets since childhood. Having followed Sagan and Tyson through his childhood, he founded a high school astronomy and astrophysics club and attended the Summer Science Program, tracking potentially hazardous Near Earth Asteroids. Now, an AE student at Tech, he looks forward to designing and building new age rockets. As a freshman in 2016, he started out as a Structures, Systems, and Ops member when Flight Dynamics didn’t exist. His work accumulated and it became clear a new team was needed, so he established FD. He’s also extremely interested in astronomy and astrophysics, loves working with his hands, exploring cities and nature, and plays violin in his free time.



Alton (AJ) Schultheis – Mission Management

AJ is a fourth year Aerospace Engineering student from Bloomington, Indiana. He is very interested in lightweight and responsive space launch development, as well as in spacecraft operations and mission planning. He is currently alternating between co-op semesters at Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Electronic Systems Laboratory as a systems engineering assistant and academic semesters at Tech. He is also involved in amateur rocketry, currently serving as the treasurer of Georgia Tech’s section 701 of the National Association of Rocketry, and having attained his level 2 high power certification.


Zachary Ernst – Systems Engineering LeadZach1

Zach is a Ph.D. candidate in Aerospace Engineering and a graduate research assistant at Georgia Tech’s Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Zach received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. Zach has previously worked with Aerojet Rocketdyne, NASA’s Langley Research Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, pursuing research in systems engineering and analysis for orbital launch vehicles and space vehicles. His current research includes multi-fidelity and multi-physics trajectory/aerodynamic modeling. Zach relaxes by playing piano, hiking, scuba diving, and practicing photography.


Roopal Goel – Operations Team LeadRoopal2

Roopal is a third year Business Administration major with a concentration in Information Technology Management and a certificate in Business Analytics. As a kid, from the moment she could read, Roopal devoured everything she could get her hands on about space, the universe, and everything in between. After taking courses on planetary science in her freshman year of college, she decided to pursue her interest in space through the Yellow Jacket Space Program. She is proud to lead a great non-technical team alongside other brilliant technical team leads. In addition to YJSP, Roopal is also involved on campus in the Georgia Tech Honors Program as an Executive Director, Scheller Business Ambassadors as a Project Manager, and the Student Alumni Association. In summer of 2017, Roopal also interned for The Coca-Cola Company in their Commercial Leadership department. In her downtime, Roopal enjoys
watching Netflix and movies, reading, browsing the Internet, and playing piano.