Skip to main content
Prof. Mitchell Walker

Prof. Mitchell Walker

Laboratory Director
Dr. Thomas Liu

Dr. Thomas Liu

Research Engineer II

Graduate Students

The future experts in electric propulsion and plasma physics currently being trained under Prof. Walker at the High-Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory, 

Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown

NSF Fellow

Nathan earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech with highest honors in May 2016 and joined HPEPL as a graduate research assistant in Fall 2016. In two years as an undergraduate research assistant with the lab, he co-authored publications on electrical facility effects, assisted in the qualification tests of multiple Hall thrusters for industry clients, developed HPEPL’s plasma diagnostic probe analysis software suite, and won a 2015 President’s Undergraduate Research Award. He has also helped test and manufacture gridded ion thrusters as an intern with L-3 Electron Technologies, Inc. and performed structural and thermal finite element analysis (FEA) on a variety of aerospace projects, including the NASA Space Launch System and James Webb Space Telescope, as a four term co-op student with ATA Engineering, Inc. Nathan believes electric propulsion holds the key to furthering human exploration of the universe; to that end, he is interested in plasma physics, advanced thruster concepts, and the application of FEA to Hall and ion thruster design.

Connie Liu

Connie Liu

NSF Fellow

Connie Liu received a B.S. in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in June 2015 and joined HPEPL as a graduate student in August 2015. Connie has worked on liquid rocket engines as a propulsion lead on the MIT Rocket Team, where she helped design, built, and test a bi-propellant liquid rocket engine with an aerospike nozzle, and as a propulsion intern for two summers at SpaceX working on the Raptor engine that is designed to take humans to Mars. She has also done some work with electric propulsion at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center to model and simulate the physics of a multi-coil coilgun as an advanced attitude control system and at the MIT Space Propulsion Laboratory working on the development of electrospray thrusters. Connie strongly believes in the necessity of advancing propulsion technologies to enable and expand human space exploration. Her interests include combining chemical and electric propulsion technologies to create new, more efficient propulsion systems, high power Hall thrusters, and spacecraft engineering.

Cheong Chan

Cheong Chan

Graduate Research Assistant

Cheong Chan is currently a graduate researcher at the HPEPL. He has interned at L-3 Communications where he supported testing of ion thrusters. Previously, he received a M.S. in Physics from Yale University where he worked topics ranging from fundamental physics measurements to fast image reconstruction algorithms. He interned at NASA Goddard as a data analyst for the Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer looking at the systematic noise sources. Cheong graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. Physics where he built a small atom trap and worked on optics with the Müller Group. Lastly, he worked on development of a solar flare detection algorithm for the Rhessi solar observatory at Space Sciences Lab in Berkeley.

David Jovel

David Jovel

GEM & Aerospace Corporation Fellow

David began his aerospace engineering career as an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Austin. While there, David participated in various student-led CubeSat development projects and completed two internships at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. David earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 2011 and since then has made many contributions within the space industry through companies like Orbital ATK, Intelsat, and the Aerospace Corporation. He is determined in obtaining his doctorate in electric propulsion with a focus on the thermal management of high-power electric propulsion devices. David strongly believes in the equity of public education and mentoring the next generation of engineers, especially the youth from underrepresented communities in STEM. Most recently, David has helped mentor the H.D. Cooke Elementary’s robotics team in Washington D.C.

Scott King

Scott King

Graduate Research Assistant

Scott received his BS in Aerospace Engineering with high honor from Georgia Tech in May 2008. He has worked in the High-Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory (HPEPL) since January 2008, and joined as a graduate student in May 2008. He is currently researching a low-Earth orbit ion engine and high T/P Hall Effect thrusters. His interests include plasma physics, RF plasmas, and hypersonic aerodynamics.

Jean Luis Suazo Betancourt

Jean Luis Suazo Betancourt

Graduate Research Assistant

Jean Luis earned his B.S in Aerospace Engineering with honors from the University of Maryland, College Park in May 2017 before joining HPEPL as a graduate student in August 2017. Before graduating, Jean Luis worked on research involving analytical models. He helped develop algorithms and mathematical models whose designs varied from predicting the performance of prototype high-efficiency heat engines to measuring unsteady thrust from Valveless Pulse-jets. Jean Luis is currently working on qualification testing for industry clients as well as developing the skills necessary to earn his doctorate in electric propulsion and make a lasting and meaningful contribution to the field. He is interested in plasma-material interactions; thermal modeling and management, as well as high thrust to power Hall thrusters -- including the control scenarios and algorithms that are necessary for employing hall thrusters in successful missions.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

HPEPL graduate students rely on the support of highly-skilled undergraduates in advancing their research forward. HPEPL takes pride in the training and professional development of the next generation of aerospace engineers, scientists, and physicists. Below are the active undergraduate teams supporting VTF-1 and VTF-2.


Andres Blanco

Taylor Fields

Carson Fletcher

Jorge Garcia

David Gomez

Shawn Huang

Justin Johnson

Arega Margousian

Utkarsh Pandey

Samuel Rapoport

Josh Siniard


CJ Atkins

Camilo Duarte

Abigail McClain

Thomas Wilson


Lab Alumni

"Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance." - Samuel Johnson

Jason Frieman, PhD

NASA Glenn Research Center

Jonathan Walker, PhD

Lockheed Martin - Skunk Works

Aaron Schinder, PhD

NASA Glenn Research Center

Tyler Scogin, MS

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Natalie (Schloeder) Caruso, PhD

Naval Research Laboratory

Samuel Langendorf, PhD

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Carl Book, MS

Lam Research

Lake Singh, PhD

The Aerospace Corporation

Brian Fein, MS

Independent Consultant

Sebastiano Giannelli, MS


Sherrie Hall, MS


Rafael Martinez, MS


Howell Hsieh, MS

U.S. Air Force

Alex Kieckhafer, MS

Zinn Technologies

Greg McCormick, MS

Georgia Tech Research Institute

Doug Palmer, MS

Booz Allen Hamilton

Gabriella Possa, MS

University of Brasilia

Logan Williams, PhD

Naval Research Laboratory

Kunning Xu, PhD

University of Alabama Huntsville