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Lauren S

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Stanford University


I have degrees in chemical engineering, earth & planetary science, and aerospace engineering, but my work also intersects mechanical engineering, materials science, and environmental engineering. I welcome opportunities across these fields.


Hi there! My name is Lauren Simitz. I have been with Polygence ~1.5 years and mentored 10 students through a myriad of research projects including space mission planning, design of more sustainable aircraft, terraforming Mars, aerodynamics of passenger vehicles, energy-efficient ice rinks, and a novel load cell to measure thrust in small-scale solid fuel rockets, to name a few. Education-wise, I'm a 3rd year PhD candidate in Stanford's Aeronautics & Astronautics department. Previously, I received my B.S. in Chemical Engineering (Sustainability Concentration), B.S. in Earth & Planetary Science, and Design Certificate from Northwestern University. That sounds like a lot of degrees, but that best captures my myriad of interest and technical strengths across the aerospace and environmental sectors. Originally a fuel chemistry process engineer at an energy company, I fell in love with designing hardware for space while I was working at SpaceX on the Propulsion and Launch Engineering teams. (Fun Fact: The first launch I ever worked was sending astronauts Bob & Doug up on Demo-2, the first U.S. astronaut mission in 11 years.) However, I missed research and made the decision to go back to school after being with the company a couple of years. Now, my academic research focuses on understanding complex, reacting, and multiphase fluid mechanics so that we can design the next-generation of sustainable propulsion and energy systems. In fact, right now I am a research fellow at Boeing, helping with the propulsion design of commercial aircraft that run on alternative (e.g. green) fuel and with fire safety certification of new aircraft. I am also engaged in projects involving small satellites, life support systems, and resource utilization on planets like Mars. Outside of my research, I enjoy ultimate frisbee, hiking, kayaking, baking, and all things science fiction.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Variable Emissivity Thermal Management Panels for Small Satellites

Satellites experience a wide range of temperatures in orbit that can affect the operation of sensitive components. Keeping the temperature inside the satellite constant is thus critical. Having an electronic panel that can change emissivity (how much radiation is absorbed vs. reflected) would provide a low-power, cost-effective, and adaptive (e.g. changing in response to the environment) solution for satellite thermal management.

Coding skills

Matlab, Python, R, VBA, OpenFoam/SimFlow/ANSYS (CFD), Cantera (Combustion)

Teaching experience

In my undergraduate, I volunteered for our Office of Undergraduate Research for three years, creating curriculum, holding workshops, and teaching a full-length class on research skills (writing grants, communicating technical work to the public, managing your relationship with your PI/managing up, etc.). I have also TAed for two courses (Biological Principles, Chemical Separations & Phase Equilibrium), tutored calculus for three years as a peer mentor in my undergrad, and tutor all levels of math and physics in drop-in tutoring I run for student athletics at Stanford. More recently, I co-created a 3-hour course on combustion applications in aerospace, which I taught twice for over 100 employees at Boeing through their Ed Wells program. From a mentoring standpoint, I formally mentored ~40 students through my school's research offices, Society of Women Engineers, Women in Aero/Astro, Stanford's First Gen Low Income program, and Stanford's Diversity in Graduate Education program. Informally, I have supervised 3 undergraduates in completing quarter-long research projects, helped around ~30 students apply to graduate school, ~10 students apply to undergraduate programs, and given 20+ informational interviews through open outreach on LinkedIn.


Work experience

Boeing (2021 - Current)
Propulsion Thermal Analysis Research Fellow
SpaceX (2022 - 2020)
Launch Engineering Intern, then Associate Propulsion Engineer
Stanford University (2021 - Current)
Research Assistant - Fluids in Complex Environments Lab
Stanford University (2021 - 2021)
Research Assistant - Extreme Environments Microsystems Lab


Northwestern University
BSE Bachelor of Science in Engineering (2021)
Chemical & Biological Engineering (B.S.E.), Earth & Planetary Science (B.S.), Segal Design Certificate
Stanford University
MEng Master of Engineering
Aeronautics & Astronautics
Stanford University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Aeronautics & Astronautics

Completed Projects

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