SOAR currently has approximately 100 active team members, including project subteam leads as well as our executive board. Meet our 2017-2018 executive board members below:
Jonathan Fitzer, President
As President, Jonathan oversees the entire organization and, with the help of his executive board, determines the overall direction that SOAR will pursue in future endeavors. This year, Jonathan is working extensively to continue the work of the previous year’s Executive Board, to continue growing SOAR into becoming more of a “company”, as well as pushing new fields of research and design to push SOAR further than it has ever gone before. By expanding SOAR further into the fields of engineering, marketing, finance, etc, Jonathan aims to give students the opportunity to gain the real world experience that they need for once they graduate. Currently, SOAR has 7 large scale rocket related projects underway with many other smaller projects being worked on, all with the aim of helping to place SOAR on the map not just for the College of Engineering at USF, but on a national level as well.
Jonathan is a senior, pursuing a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering, with an expected graduation date of May 2018. He currently works as a Co-Op with CAE and hopes to turn his Co-Op into a career once he graduates.
Stephanie Bauman, Vice President
Stephanie was elected Vice President of SOAR in April 2017. Since assuming the position, she has taken the responsibility of overseeing current projects and ensuring each team is functioning properly to meet the project objectives. Since SOAR is an organization encompassing more than just engineering, Stephanie ensures that each team or project has the necessary resources and personnel to succeed, including finance, safety, human resources, and project management. This year, as SOAR expands its program, Stephanie oversees three annual projects and several long-term projects. The NASA Student Launch Initiative (NSL) 2016-2017, Two-Stage Rocket Build, and the Hybrid Rocket Competition sponsored by the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium will be completed this year. SOAR’s long-term project goals include a High-Altitude Rocket, construction of a Liquid Engine, and development of a scientific payload and an aeronautics department. She has been working closely with the Chief of Rocketry and Chief of Engineering, as well as the project managers, making sure they are on track with the project objectives, scheduling, and budget. Stephanie’s ultimate goal as VP is to establish strong collaboration among all of the different skill sets inside and outside the organization and develop a project management structure that makes each project successful.
Stephanie is a junior, pursuing a bachelor of science degree in physics, graduating in May 2019. She is a US Army Veteran, currently serving in the Reserves, with a civilian background in aviation and aerospace contract management. She joined SOAR at the recommendation of her calculus professor and SOAR’s advisor, Dr. Manoug Manougian, and quickly took on roles as the Tripoli Rocket Association Level 1 Certification Trainer and the NSL Production Manager. She has completed two research internships, one at USF and another at MIT and hopes to continue on to graduate school to earn a PhD in Materials Science.
Ian Comunale, Chief of Engineering
As Chief Engineer, Ian leads the engineering department and oversees the mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering sub-departments. His work this year is focused on helping our talented group of project managers to bring their projects to fruition . Fall semester will be focused on finishing projects from last year and setting the stage for the long term, large scale projects that SOAR has undertaken. In addition to working with project managers, a training program will be developed throughout the year to help integrate new members of all backgrounds to the work we do in SOAR, and the technical knowledge one may need. Through this program, Ian hopes to build a strong foundation of skilled students that will continue the legacy of SOAR’s quality work.
Ian is taking a victory lap studying mechanical engineering. Ian’s real passion lies outside the classroom, in the gym. Getting yolked is not just a pass-time, it is a way of life. He hopes to start his own gym one day called “Engineering Yolkedness: The life of an egg”. He believes that the gym is a great way to build the kind of mental fortitude (and ability to wear a cut-off at all times) that companies look for. Aside from getting yolked, Ian stumbled into a passion for aviation. With little direction at the beginning of his collegiate track, he found a way with internships and SOAR that has brought a clear goal for his future. Ian has worked at GE Aviation for the past 2 years as a mechanical engineering intern, he finished there this summer but hopes to continue on in the aerospace industry.
John Dougherty, Chief of Rocketry
As Chief of Rocketry, John oversees the projects within the club that have a rocketry element, and assists in planning, developing and executing these projects. This year, John is working extensively to continue the work of the previous year’s Executive Board, to develop into new fields of research and design to push SOAR further than it has ever gone before. By applying the knowledge many of the students learn in the classroom or through the club, John aims to give students an opportunity to develop experience in engineering, and show them options they wouldn’t have found outside of SOAR.
John is a sophomore, pursuing a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering, with an expected graduation date of May 2020. Since joining SOAR he has had an internship with NASA which he hopes to continue next summer and eventually turn into a career.
Ian Sanders, Chief of Operations
Our new 2017-18 Chief of Operations is Ian Sanders. As COO, Ian is responsible for marketing, recruiting, events, outreach, brand management, and leadership development. This year, Ian is working to build a new in-house marketing team for SOAR. Using this team, he will be developing SOAR’s relationship with corporate sponsors (and future SOAR member employers), including local businesses and larger aerospace companies. This includes developing a sponsorship package and directly reaching out to businesses. The team will also assist with recruiting, as Ian works to expand SOAR’s reach beyond the College of Engineering. While SOAR is often viewed as a society limited to engineers, Ian believes that, just like any large company, SOAR needs members from a diverse set of majors – including marketing, management, studio arts, communications, finance, and psychology.
Ian is an undergraduate sophomore from Fort Myers majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Outside of SOAR, he is an avid rock climber and an active member of the USF Honors College. After, he hopes to start and run his own engineering company, potentially in the aerospace or robotics fields.