Ph.D. student Gabriela DeFrancisci received the 2012 Student of the Year award from the FAA Joint Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials and Structures. Gabriela will travel to Washington D.C. in January to accept her award.
Gabriela DeFrancisci received her B.S. (2008) from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo’s Department of Civil Engineering. She received her M.S. (2010) and is currently completing her Ph.D. at University of California, San Diego in Structural Engineering. In 2008, she received the UCSD Structural Engineering Department Fellowship. She was a Transportation Research Board Fellowship Recipient on Public Sector Aviation Issues in 2009-2010 and a California Space Grant Fellowship Recipient in 2010. Gabriela conducts her multi-faceted research for the FAA Joint Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials and Structures which is sponsored by the FAA Office of Aviation Research at the FAA Wm. J. Hughes Technical Center. Her project involves interactions with various aspects of the aviation industry including the airframers, the airline operators and material suppliers, as well as FAA and EASA.
Gabriela's main research area is wide area, blunt impact on composite structures, similar to accidental contact between a ground service vehicle and a commercial aircraft. Her dissertation is entitled “High Energy, Wide Area, Blunt Impact on Composite Aircraft Structures” which has very strong implications related to safety and detection of damage in the new generation of composite airframes. This award is a fitting acknowledgement of Gabriela's dedication to these important transportation-safety focused efforts, and the significance of the contributions which her research has produced, and continues to produce, for the aviation safety community.