Villanova Engineering Student Wins Competitive Aviation Research Award

Maria Chiara Guercio
Maria Chiara Guercio

Maria Chiara Guercio, a PhD student in Villanova University’s College of Engineering, has been selected to receive a $10,000 research stipend for 2013-2014 from the Graduate Research Award Program on Public-Sector Aviation Issues. Sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and administered by the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) of the Transportation Research Board/National Academies, this competitive award is to support the successful completion of a research paper on the student’s selected topic. Guercio’s research topic is “Quantifying the Performance of Energy Conscious Materials in Flexible Airfield Pavements.”

One of Guercio’s advisors, Dr. Leslie Myers McCarthy, PE, assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, explains what it means for a Villanova student to win this award: “National Academies’ grants are generally awarded to those from large research universities. To be honored with one is a great testament to the building momentum of our transportation program.” She adds, “Maria wrote a great proposal and received commendations from the panel, which included a number of airport CEOs and members of the FAA.”

“I am honored to receive the award and very excited to work on this project,” says Guercio. She adds, “I am also extremely thankful to have a great team supporting and guiding me — Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Eric Musselman at Villanova, and my co-advisor from Rowan University, Dr. Yusuf Mehta.” Guercio will conduct her laboratory work at Rowan’s South Jersey Tech Center, while the finite element analysis will take place at Villanova. After completing her doctorate in spring 2015, Guercio hopes to put her experience to work for the FAA.