Riley Jacobs

Riley Jacobs is a current full-time PhD student at the University of Texas - Austin, working towards a degree in Aerospace Engineering focusing on Combustion Mechanics and standing detonation shock waves from the Cockrell School of Engineering. Supported by Dr. Philip Varghese and the Office of Naval Research, Ms Jacobs is focusing on Raman Spectroscopy to implement a standing detonation shock wave open-flame experiment.

Name : Riley Jacobs
Education : The University of Texas at Austin
Email : rileymjacobs@utexas.edu
Address : 2617 Wichita St, Austin, TX 78712
Advisor : Dr. Philip L. Varghese
LinkedIn : www.linkedin.com/in/riley-jacobs-501062174
GitHub : riley-m-jacobs


Riley Jacobs is currently a full-time Aerospace Engineering Doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research falls into the aerospace engineering subfields of hypersonics and combustion mechanics. Specifically, it will explore the prediction and categorization of the Raman spectra within detonation combustion waves undergoing supersonic flow. The purpose of Ms Jacobs' research is to develop a greater understanding of the fundamental chemistry to attenatue instabilities and enhance reliability in real engines for future hypersonic flight vehicles.

Ms Jacobs is pursuing a career focused on developing solutions to nonequilibrium and hypersonic fluids. With the help of her graduate degree, she will push the boundaries of complex fluid flow. Her ultimate career goal is to transform commercial aerodynamic flight by improving safety and industry standards.

Awards and Accomplishments

  • c

    Cockrell School of Engineering Fellowship

    Years awarded: 2022. The Cockrell School of Engineering offers academically competitive students financial packages that include paid research positions, insurance, and tuition coverage.

  • l

    College Scholar

    Years awarded: 2019-2020, 2020-2021, 2021-2022. The University of Texas at Austin designates outstanding students as College Scholars and Distinguished College Scholars, on the basis of registration and grade point average requirements. The student must rank in the top 20 percent of their class in each college and have an in-resident GPA of 3.60.

  • d

    TexasView Research and Education Grant

    Years awarded: 2020. Granted the TexasView Research and Education Grant to utilize Google Earth Engine to develop an app that can be used to analyze GRACE and GRACE Follow-On total water storage time-series data. TexasView grant required the procurement of three main deliverables: a two-page report, poster, and finally, an overarching testimonial.


Ms Jacobs hopes to further develop her passion and interest in astrophysics and atmospheric opportunities through a partnering with the United States Navy and experience with Aerospace Engineering companies.

  • 2022 - 2027

    Graduate Researcher

    The University of Texas at Austin

    Extensive experience in optical diagnostics, specializing in laser-based measurements for the study of high pressure/density spontaneous Raman spectra measurements of Nitrogen and other gas-phase liquid fuels.

    Designed and executed complex experiments, utilizing advanced optical instruments and techniques to gather and analyze data related to standing detonation shock waves and hypersonic flows.

  • 2023 - 2024

    Graduate Researcher Intern

    U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

    Worked with staff at NRL to set up time-averaged Raman measurements of species concentration and temperature with gaseous fuel-air mixtures in the detonation wave facility.

    Designed and set up multi-pass optical system and pulse-stretched laser system.

  • 2021 - 2022

    Transportation Systems Research and Analysis Intern

    National Renewable Energy Laboratory

    Developed and applied NREL python-based software including FASTSim and RoutE to assess energy impacts of advanced powertrain technologies.

    Worked with and analyzed large quantities of real-world travel activity and vehicle driving data, and potentially leverage high-performance computing resources for larger scale analyses.

  • 2019 - 2021

    Student Admissions Representative

    The University of Texas at Austin

    Lead guided tours and informational talks for prospective students and their families each week to learn more about life and classes at UT Austin in an educational, fun, and clear way.

    Assisted during campus-wide events such as Explore UT, Girl Day, and Longhorn Pride to give prospective tours to the thousands of visitors that arrive on campus.

  • 2020 - 2021

    Remote Sensing Research Intern

    Center of Space Research

    Collaborated with the researchers of the Center of Space Research on projects providing insights into GRACE and GRACE Follow-On data to deliver quality data analyses, and modeling results.

    Documented methods and assumptions to assist with preparing peer-reviewed publications along with high- quality technical reports and presentations.

  • 2020

    Teachers Assistant

    SEES/NASA Internship

    Assisted and mentored students independently as well in groups concerning coding assignments during twice-weekly office hours.

    Supervised weekly quizzes as well as facilitated communication between students regarding student participation.

  • 2019-2020

    Student Research Assistant

    The University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Tenerani

    Investigated the theory, modeling and simulations of the Alfvén wave evolution in the solar wind and solar wind turbulence as well as initiated fast magnetic reconnection and turbulence.

    Programmed in MATLAB in order to generate plots of time series from data collected by the space probe, Ulysses.

  • 2018-2019

    Information and Technology Intern

    National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

    Collaborated with the IT department of the Boulder Branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and assisted with the planning, setup, configuration and placement of electrical connections for new high-performance computers within the main computing facility.

Technical Skills

Experimental Research
Super Computing
Large-Scale Data Management
Raman Spectroscopy

Fluent in the above technical skills. Additionally proficient in Google Earth Engine Developer (GEE), Solidworks (CAD), 3-D Printing, Lasercutting, ArcGis, LabView, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and JavaScript (with this website!). Soft skills include adaptive, empathetic, analytical and detail-oriented.


  • 2018 - 2022

    Aerospace Engineering

    The University of Texas at Austin

    Bachelor of Science, B.S., Aerospace Engineering with an emphasis on Atmospheric Flight

    GPA: 3.89/4.0

  • 2022 - 2027

    Aerospace Engineering

    The University of Texas at Austin

    Doctorate of Philosophy, Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering with an emphasis on Aerothermodynamics and Fluid mechanics


She has published almost 1 technical article and report as well as coauthored several peer-reviewed presentations.



Remote Sensing Research

Since the beginning of the fall 2020, Ms. Jacobs applied analysis methods for CSR GRACE and GRACE-FO data while simultaneously uploading into Google Earth Engine. ...



High Performance Computing and Real-World Powertrain Data

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat.



Raman Spectroscopy and High Pressure Ro-Vibrational Measurements

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat.

Projects and Affiliations

She has published almost 1 technical article and report as well as coauthored several peer-reviewed presentations.



Senior Aircraft Team

Project Manager

Systems engineering-based approach to conceptual design and analysis of an aircraft system to meet top-level mission requirements. ... Followed by a rigorous design process, build, flight test, and demonstration. The overall approach is applicable to all aircraft, but the specific project is a small unmanned air system designed to meet defined mission requirements.

Specifically in charge of overall product manufacturing, performance, test, and quality. Specific responsibility for strategy, planning, tasking, and requirements as well as product quality review.



Graduate Ladies in Aerospace and Engineering Mechanics (GLAM)

Something to say here about something.



Computational Fluid Dynamics

Taken several courses exploring the exciting new job market of CFD. Click here to explore some of the projects that I have undergone...


Questions? I am always happy to provide information.