Alicia Alcoba Corominas was born in Platja d’Aro in 1993. In 2016, she received her B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the School of Civil Engineering (ETSCCPB) at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). During her senior year, she was an international student at the Technische Universität München (TUM) in Munich, Germany. At TUM, she wrote her Bachelor’s thesis under the advice of Prof. Máté Péntek in the group of Structural Analysis. Her thesis was based on an analysis and theoretical implementation of different strategies to adjust the tension of Cable-Stayed Bridges.
In 2016, Alicia started her Master’s in Civil Engineering with a major in Transportation and Urban Planning at ETSECCPB. During 2017, she conducted a 10-month internship at COMSA Corporation. She collaborated with the R&D department to develop European projects and implement innovative solutions, to improve the reliability and properties of various railway devices. Also in 2017, Alicia was awarded a Balsells Mobility Fellowship to develop her Master’s thesis at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). During the spring semester of 2018, Alicia carried out her research at UCI in the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) under the supervision of Prof. Wen-Long Jin. She proposed a stochastic model based on the well-known LWR model, which succeeded in reproducing the stop-and-go instabilities observed in experiments. The main results of her investigation were presented in the paper “The LWR model with stochastic speed-density relation”, which has been accepted for presentation at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting held in Washington in January of 2019.
In 2018, Alicia was awarded a Balsells Graduate Fellowship to pursue her Master’s in Engineering Management at the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests are transportation systems and traffic flow theory. She enjoys traveling and all outdoors activities, such as hiking or running.
Felix Hernandez Ansuategui was born in Castellon de la Plana in 1995 and moved to Barcelona in 2013 in order to pursue his degree in Mathematics. He received his B.S. degree from the School of Mathematics and Statistics in July 2017. From August 2016 to February 2017, he attended the Free University of Amsterdam as an international student.
After completing his B.S. degree, Felix spent a year as a Junior Data Analyst at a small consulting company, BaseTis, with a former Balsells Fellow (Albert Mercade, 2002), first as an intern in the Data department and then as a full time employee. In February 2018, he joined CornerJob, a startup based in Barcelona, as a Junior Data Engineer in the Bussiness Intelligence department. While he was working for this company, he was awarded a Balsells Fellowship to carry out his graduate studies in Computer Science at UCI. His main research interests are Machine and Deep Learning, Cryptography, Data Security & Privacy and Data Analysis.
Apart from his academic interests, he remains quite active, enjoying travelling, programming, and practicing sports, especially triathlon, surfing and climbing.
She wrote her Bachelor’s thesis on the utilization of Green’s Functions in one-dimensional Boundary Value Problems and their variational-calculus treatment.
During her last year as an undergraduate student she received a fellowship to give provide Algebra classes to freshmen at UPC.
In 2018, she was awarded a Balsells Graduate Fellowship to pursue graduate studies in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. Her main research interests are Applied Mathematics, more precisely, in Fluid Mechanics and Variational Calculus.
She loves surfing and skating, as well as travelling, camping and reading.
Laura Pla Olea was born in Barcelona in 1995. She graduated from Escola Superior d’Enginyeries Industrial, Aeroespacial i Audiovisual de Terrassa (ESEIAAT) in 2017, obtaining a B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering.
During her sophomore and junior years, she was part of the Terrassa Rocket Team. Her Bachelor’s thesis consisted in the development of a set of codes to solve mass, momentum and energy equations applied to different fluid dynamics problems.
After graduating, she completed the first year of the Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering at ESEIAAT.
In 2018, she was awarded a Balsells Graduate Fellowship to pursue graduate studies in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. Her main research interests are aerodynamics, aircraft design and sustainability.
She enjoys skating, travelling, reading and playing the piano.
Martí Sala Casanovas was born in Sant Feliu de Codines (Barcelona) in 1996. He graduated from Universitat Ramon Llull (URL)’s Institut Químic de Sarrià with a bachelor´s degree in Industrial Technologies Engineering.
After his freshman year, he spent a summer as a research intern in the Computer Vision Center (UAB), working in the advanced driver-assistance systems research group. During the summers of 2016 and 2017, he worked as a R&D Mechanical Engineering Intern in HP Inc., in Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona), where he performed FEA and CFD simulations, as well as experimental testing, to assist in the development of HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing products.
During his senior year, he spent 6 months at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) with a Balsells Mobility Award. At UCI, he worked with Professor Jaeho Lee in the Nano Thermal Energy Research Group, developing engineered selective emitters with different applications such as personal thermal management.
In 2018, he was awarded with a Balsells Fellowship to pursue graduate studies in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, Irvine under the direction of Professor Lorenzo Valdevit, in the Architected Materials Lab. His research interests encompass the area of mechanics of materials, especially nanostructured metamaterials, nanocomposites and additive manufacturing techniques.
He enjoys traveling, going to the movies and hanging out with friends.
Jose Alejandro Santamaría Rodríguez was born in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1995 and moved to Barcelona in 1996. He started his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering degree in 2013 at UPC’s Escola Superior d’Enginyeries Industrial, Aeronàutica I Audiovisual de Terrassa (ESEIAAT). A year later he joined UPC’s Centre de Formació Interdisciplinària Superior (CFIS) to pursue a double degree in Mathematics.
As a senior in 2018, he was awarded the Balsells Mobility Program fellowship to develop his Bachelor’s Thesis at the University of California Irvine, with Professor Feng Liu on the study of Plasma Actuators as an active Drag Reducing Mechanism. With that research experience, he concluded his undergraduate studies and graduated in the summer of 2018.
Also in 2018, he was awarded a Balsells Fellowship to pursue his M.S. and PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. His main research interests are Rocket Propulsion, Life Support Systems, Space Missions and Computational Fluid Dynamics.
Apart from his academic studies, he speaks 4 languages fluently: Catalan, Spanish, English and German; is learning French, and wants to start with Japanese. He loves practicing sports, mainly soccer and basketball, travelling and trying food from all over the world, as well as hanging out with friends and going to the movies.
During her senior year, she did an internship at Neurogenetics and Molecular Medicine’s research group from Fundació Sant Joan de Déu (Barcelona). There, she carried out her Bachelor’s thesis, which consisted on the development of an algorithm for segmentation and tracking of mitochondrial motion in neural cultures. The results of her thesis were presented at the 40th conference of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference (EMBC), in Honolulu, Hawaii, 2018.
In 2018, Claudia was awarded a Balsells Graduate Fellowship to pursue graduate studies in Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. Her main research interests are image and signal processing as well as brain-computer interfaces for patients with spinal cord injuries.
She enjoys playing the piano, reading, swimming and being around animals.