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A photo of Dr. Cecilia Huertas-CerdeiraThe University of Maryland's (UMD) Department of Mechanical Engineering welcomes its newest faculty member, Cecilia Huertas Cerdeira. A 2019 graduate of the Ph.D. program in aeronautics at the California Institute of Technology, her research includes robotics, experimental fluid mechanics, and fluid-structure interactions.

At UMD, she will be conducting research at the Hydrodynamics Laboratory, together with Keystone Professors James Duncan and Ken Kiger. Her major area of focus will be on developing a fundamental understanding of the interactions that occur between structures of complex mechanical properties and a flow.

Applications of her research include the development bio-inspired propulsion systems for underwater robotics and aeroelastic energy harvesters for autonomous platforms.

“My research pulls from many different fields, including fluid mechanics, robotics, data-driven methods, and structural mechanics," Huertas Cerdeira said. "The University of Maryland is home to some of the strongest research efforts in each one of these areas, providing a unique opportunity to interact and collaborate with internationally recognized faculty.  The facilities in the Clark School of Engineering are unparalleled—from the Hydrodynamics lab to the Neutral Buoyancy tank to the new IDEA Factory, there will be no limit but imagination to the research I will be able to perform.”

In addition to her doctoral and master’s degrees from Caltech, where she won the William F. Ballhaus Prize for outstanding doctoral dissertation in aeronautics, Dr. Huertas Cerdeira holds a M.S. degree in air and ground transport from École Nationale Supérieure de Mécanique et d’Aérotechnique de Poitiers, France, as well as a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain. Prior to joining the faculty of UMD, she was a research staff member at Caltech’s Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies.



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