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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Draper Fellow Honored as Engineering Leader of Tomorrow

Kristen Railey, a Draper Fellow, Named to Aviation Week’s “20 Twenties”

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Kristen Railey, a Draper Fellow and a PhD candidate in Oceanographic Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) joint program, is among 20 students worldwide selected by Aviation Week as “Tomorrow’s Engineering Leaders: The 20 Twenties.”

Sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the 20 Twenties recognize the top science, technology, engineering and mathematics undergraduate and graduate students for their academic excellence, the research and projects they undertake and their contributions to the broader community. The 20 Twenties will be honored during Aviation Week’s 60th Annual Laureates Awards on March 2 at the National Building Museum in Washington.

“One of the pillars of our service to the aerospace community is actively engaging and developing next-generation technology talent who are essential to the future of this exceptional industry,” Greg Hamilton, president of Aviation Week Network, said. “Truly, this year’s nominees and winners represent the best in terms of their talent, their creativity and ability.”

According to Sandy Magnus, AIAA’s executive director, this year’s honorees “reflect the diversity, ingenuity and remarkable talent found within the aerospace community. Each of these outstanding students, from around the world, is making significant contributions to their fields of study—ranging from electric propulsion to hypersonics to autonomous vehicles—as well as working to make the world a better place. Their research is shaping not only the future of aerospace, but the future of humanity, and each is uniquely worthy of our praise and this honor.”

Railey’s research focuses on signal processing and autonomy in underwater robotics. She is a joint National Defense Science and Engineering and Draper Fellow. Previously, Railey was a technical staff member in the Advanced Undersea Group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and received a S.B. in mechanical engineering from MIT.
Draper has operated a fellowship program for more than 50 years. Currently the program supports 60 Draper Fellows who are pursuing MS and PhD degrees at 11 universities. Draper Fellow Alumni have gone on to serve as high-ranking members in the DOD, astronauts for NASA, leaders in industry and faculty members in engineering and the sciences.

Draper Fellow Kristen Railey was honored as one of the top 20 engineering leaders of tomorrow by Aviation Week
Capabilities Used
Autonomous Systems

Draper combines mission planning, PN&T, situational awareness, and novel GN&C designs to develop and deploy autonomous platforms for ground, air, sea and undersea needs. These systems range in complexity from human-in-the-loop to systems that operate without any human intervention. The design of these systems generally involves decomposing the mission needs into sets of scenarios that result in trade studies that lead to an optimized solution with key performance requirements.  Draper continues to advance the field of autonomy through research in the areas of mission planning, sensing and perception, mobility, learning, real-time performance evaluation and human trust in autonomous systems.


Draper has designed and developed microelectronic components and systems going back to the mid-1980s. Our integrated, ultra-high density (iUHD) modules of heterogeneous components feature system functionality in the smallest form factor possible through integration of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology with Draper-developed custom packaging and interconnect technology. Draper continues to pioneer custom Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS), Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) and custom radio frequency components for both commercial (microfluidic platforms organ assist, drug development, etc.) and government (miniaturized data collection, new sensors, Micro-sats, etc.) applications.  Draper features a complete in-house iUHD and MEMS fabrication capability and has existing relationships with many other MEMS and microelectronics fabrication facilities. 

Image & Data Analytics

Draper combines specific domain expertise and knowledge of how to apply the latest analytics techniques to extract meaningful information from raw data to better understand complex, dynamic processes. Our system design approach encompasses effective organization and processing of large data sets, automated analysis using algorithms and exploitation of results. To facilitate user interaction with these processed data sets, Draper applies advanced techniques to automate understanding and correlation of patterns in the data. Draper’s expertise encompasses machine learning (including deep learning), information fusion from diverse and heterogeneous data sources, optimized coupling of data acquisition and analysis and novel methods for analysis of imagery and video data.

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