SOAR currently has approximately 150 active members, including project sub-team leads as well as our executive board. Meet our 2019-2020 executive board members below:


Dr. Manoug Manougian

Faculty Advisor

To learn about our faculty advisor, Dr. Manoug Manougian, see his USF Faculty Bio and his Wikipedia article.

Javian Hernandez


Javian was elected President of SOAR in April 2019. Since assuming the position, he has taken responsibility of overseeing major operations of the organization which includes handling SOAR’s operational budget, obtaining sponsorships and partnerships from industry partners, recruitment of new members, and maintaining relationships with other organizations to collaboratively work towards achieving and the mission of SOAR and USF. SOAR encompasses more than just engineers and this year Javian plans to expand out and engage more than just the College of Engineering and host outreach events through the Tampa Bay area. This year SOAR is diving straight into liquid engine development for the Base 11 Space Challenge and will acquire the necessary resources and workspaces to secure the longevity of project development and to let USF be the first university to send a liquid-propelled rocket into space!

Javian is a senior studying Mechanical Engineering and will graduate in December 2020. Javian has a passion for aerospace and rocketry and plans to work in the industry right after graduation. In the past Javian was the Mechanical engineering Lead for the 2017-2018 NASA Student Launch competition and the Chief of Engineering for the 2018-2019 school year.  

Contact Javian

Jackson Stephenson

Vice President

Serving as our Vice President for 2019-2020, Jackson Stephenson will primarily serve a multi-purpose role; advising peers as a technical officer and aiding the executive board in critical administrative duties. He has been involved in multiple projects and positions over the course of his college career, ranging from NASA Student Launch Project Manager to Chief of Rocketry. His short term goal for SOAR is to develop in-house liquid propulsion systems and integrate them into a launch vehicle through the Base 11 Space Challenge. His long term goals for SOAR include raising the club’s reputation at USF and secure more sponsorships and resources for future students to help them in their projects.

Jackson is a senior working towards an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, set to graduate in 2020. He is Level 3 certified through Tripoli Rocket Association and wants to continue leading SOAR projects through his time at USF. His ultimate personal goal is to one day work for a premier aerospace engineering company such as NASA, Blue Origin or SpaceX. He is actively seeking internships for the summer of 2020.

Contact Jackson

Ian Sanders

Chief of Finance

Our Chief of Finance for the 2019-2020 season is Ian Sanders. As Chief of Finance, Ian seeks to expand SOAR’s fledgling sponsorship program in order to maximize the organization’s resources as SOAR ventures into the exciting and innovative but cost-intensive field of liquid-fueled rockets. He also plans to streamline the purchasing process by improving the custom software that SOAR uses to manage the purchasing flow, thus improving communication and decreasing wait times for new parts and materials. Ian is also responsible for developing and managing the annual budget for this fiscal year.

Ian is a senior Mechanical Engineering student with a minor in Entrepreneurship. He expects to graduate in the spring of 2020 before continuing to a career in rocketry and space systems. He currently works as software development and data analysis engineering intern at Chromalloy Castings. Previously, Ian served as Vice President and Chief of Operations on the executive board, and as NASA Student Launch Vehicle Team Lead in the 2018-19 NSL competition. His ultimate dream is to start his own company designing and building rockets to efficiently and inexpensively launch small payloads into orbit.

Contact Ian

Madison Kozee

Chief of Operations

Madison is SOAR’s Chief Operating Officer for the 2019-2020 school year. In this position, she will encourage member involvement, plan outreach and fundraising events, and continue to help grow the organization. Madison would especially like to boost the recruitment of both STEM and non-STEM majors like Business and Communication students to strengthen SOAR’s operation as a multifaceted organization that runs itself like a company.

Madison is a Junior working towards her B.S. in Physics while also earning her General Business Certificate and is expected to graduate in May of 2021. After that, she plans on going to graduate school. She is actively looking for internships in physics and science outreach for the Summer of 2020.

Contact Madison

Rosniel Castro

Chief of Safety

Rosniel “Ross” Castro will be serving as Chief of Safety for the 2019-2020 schools year. In his role, Ross will oversee the wellbeing of members and the projects taken on by ensuring a safe mindset is used to approach challenges while staying within the confines of project guidelines. Ros will help onboard new members to SOAR and ensure that they receive the proper safety training. Ros will also help promote a culture of safety first especially in the realm of liquid engine development

Ross is a senior studying Chemistry. He is a Computational Biophysics research assistant working under the supervision of Dr. Varma in the department of Cellular and Molecular Biology. Ross aims to earn his Doctorate in Computational Chemistry.

Contact Rosniel

Mrudit Trivedi

Chief of Rocketry

Our chief of Rocketry for the 2019-2020 year is Mrudit Trivedi. His responsibilities include spreading the knowledge of rocketry to the members of SOAR by conducting workshops and lecture series and being the point of contact for all rocketry related queries. His goal is to increase engagement and involvement among the members in the different projects SOAR will be working on this year. As the projects become more complicated, he will work on creating and maintaining a centralized knowledge database or “library” and standardize certain project processes for a smooth and more efficient way of working. Mrudit’s vision for SOAR is to win a competition this year and be one of the most innovative rocketry student organizations in the country.

Mrudit is currently pursuing his graduate studies in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in materials and structures. He was involved in the NASA Student Launch competition in 2018-2019 as a recovery engineer and currently works on the test engine design for the Base 11 competition. Mrudit has 3-years of work experience in the automation industry and hopes to work as a structural design engineer for one of the leading aerospace companies in the future. His long-term vision in life is to create a platform to increase the interest of young engineers and students in aerospace and rocketry back in his home country in India.

Contact Mrudit

Thomas Hall

Chief of Engineering

Thomas is a Computer Engineering major and looking to find a career in the avionics industry. Previously Thomas worked as the Payload Lead for NSL 2018-2019 and is currently helping on the Base 11 team’s data acquisition for the test stand. This is his third year in SOAR and is expected to graduate by December 2020. He goes by Tom or Thomas.

As Chief of Engineering, Tom oversees all non-rocket related projects in SOAR. Specifically, he makes sure projects are on-track, organized, and do not go over budget. He plans to guide SOAR into developing new and cutting-edge payloads to be implemented onboard future rockets. His current project is in rebuilding the delta style 3D printer for use in creating the mold for SOAR’s liquid engine.

Contact Thomas