O'Connor receives Air Force Young Investigator grant


Jacqueline O’Connor, assistant professor, mechanical engineering, was awarded a three-year grant through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Research Program (YIP).

The AFOSR YIP supports young scientists in creative foundational research in order to develop their careers. O’Connor’s proposal addresses one of the biggest challenges in combustion, flame and turbulence interaction. She will be looking at how flames interact on a local level, essentially, what happens when flames run into each other. Her group will be conducting experimental research to help understand how those interactions can change the shape and stability of flames.

The goal of the AFOSR YIP is to fund research that will have an impact beyond one project. O’Conner’s work on flame interactions will carry over into much of the other research her team is doing, and the resulting data will have an impact that lasts much longer than the three-year funding period.

O’Connor holds the Dorothy Quiggle Career Developmental Professorship and has been an assistant professor in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State since August 2013. She directs the Reacting Flow Dynamics Laboratory and teaches undergraduate-level thermodynamics and graduate-level combustion. She received her doctorate from Georgia Tech in aerospace engineering and was a post-doctoral researcher at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California, in the Engine Combustion Department. Her research at Sandia focused on using laser diagnostic techniques to understand fluid-chemical interactions in heavy-duty diesel engines for the mitigation of pollutants such as soot and unburned hydrocarbons.


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Shea Bracken




The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

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