Tuesday, April 21, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Top UCD grad aims for space industry

By
From page A1 | June 11, 2014 |

ashley coatesV

Graduating UC Davis senior Ashley Coates is a double major in aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering. She was an intern in professor Steve Robinson's lab, where she helped design the optics for a helmet-based virtual testing device (pictured). Coates is the 2014 UC Davis University Medalist. Karin Higgins, UC Davis/Courtesy photo

Out of this world is one way to describe the top graduating senior at the UC Davis.

After a visit to the Kennedy Space Center when she was in high school, Ashley Coates of Hollister set her sights on a career in the space industry. At UCD, she has excelled in her studies of aerospace science and mechanical engineering and been mentored by a former astronaut. And her experiences included helping to build a virtual-reality headset, reverse-engineering a robotic arm and designing an airplane.

“I’ve always wanted to be the person who sends other people into space,” she said.

Coates is the 2014 recipient of the University Medal for excellence in undergraduate studies, outstanding community service and the promise of future scholarship and contributions to society.

When she receives the award at her commencement on Sunday, she’ll join an elite class of doctors, engineers, professors and others whose work ranges from seeking a cure for cancer to helping the poor in developing countries.

Coates achieved a cumulative grade-point average of 4.0 as she earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in aerospace science and engineering and mechanical engineering.

Stephen Robinson, a retired NASA astronaut and UCD professor, mentored Coates.

“Ashley Coates is the type of student who will always represent the best of UC Davis, in both technical achievement and community service, and will be a wonderful role model for following generations of Aggies,” he wrote in support of her recognition.

Among Coates’ stellar experiences on campus has been volunteering with the Center for Human/Robotics/Vehicle Integration and Performance. Directed by Robinson, the center conducts research to keep humans alive in extreme and highly hazardous environments, such as space flight, aircraft emergencies and robotic surgery.

In the center’s lab, Coates helped disassemble and study the workings of a robotic arm from NASA and create a helmet-mounted, virtual-reality system for use in the design of cockpits. For a senior team project to design a 75-passenger plane, she designed the landing gear and performed the cost analysis.

Coates will work at NASA’s Johnson Space Center this summer. In the fall, she will begin studies at Stanford University, which named her a graduate fellow and provided a three-year award valued at $240,000.

She plans to focus on computational fluid dynamics — the use of numerical methods and algorithms to analyze and solve problems that involve fluid (think air) flows — as she pursues degrees in aeronautics and astronautics.

Coates hopes to work in the space industry, including NASA, and then as a university professor.

Even now, Coates speaks at schools to encourage girls to consider opportunities in math, science and engineering.

“I know what it is like to be the one girl in the class, and I think I can use that experience to encourage others to follow their dream even if it isn’t the norm,” she said. “There are opportunities out there for all of them to get involved in cool things that interest them.”

Coates grew up steeped in Aggie traditions. Her father, Bill, earned two degrees at UCD and was a UC Cooperative Extension farm adviser. Her brother Ryan graduated from UCD in 2009, and her twin, Darren, will graduate in June.

During her time on campus, Coates played piccolo and flute in the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh, served as a peer adviser and, as a chancellor’s ambassador, represented students at various events.

Coates will be presented with the medalist’s plaque and a $2,000 honorarium at the College of Engineering commencement at 3 p.m. Sunday in The Pavilion on campus.

The ceremony will be the last of UCD’s spring commencements. The university estimates that it will confer about 8,710 degrees for the 2013-14 academic year.

Celebrate!

Wednesday, June 11: 4 p.m., School of Education, Mondavi Center;

Thursday, June 12: 4 p.m., Graduate Studies, in the ARC Pavilion;

Friday, June 13: 10 a.m., School of Veterinary Medicine, Mondavi Center; 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, ARC;

Saturday, June 14: 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., College of Letters and Science, ARC; 10 a.m., Graduate School of Management, Mondavi Center;

Sunday, June 15: College of Biological Sciences at 9 a.m. in the ARC; College of Engineering at 3 p.m. in the ARC

— UC Davis News

Comments

comments

Julia Ann Easley

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Woodland murder suspect claims history of abuse

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

    Public forum will explore community choice energy options

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

     
    Log cabin home is labor of love

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    The camp around the corner: Day camp benefits kids and families

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Ready to give a resident camp a try? Tips to ease the homesick blues

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Vote with your dollars at Davis Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    UCD study: Colorblind bilingual programs can perpetuate bias

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Davis Kids Klub offers a true summer camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Immigrant teens share their dreams at YIIN dinner

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Buddhist groups host SanghaFest on Saturday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    AAUW hosts Yamada speech on Tuesday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Round up at the registers for Davis schools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8Comments are off for this post

    Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Online courses a cure-all? UCD study says think again

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Show tunes take center stage at sing-along

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Alternatives to violence explored

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Paws for Thought: Hero dogs go above and beyond

    By Evelyn Dale | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Rotary Club hosts whisky tasting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Spend a morning with the mayor

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Celebrate Mexican culture at I-House

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Achievement gap to be addressed at symposium

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    Suicide awareness walk set April 25 at UC Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Tour de Cluck tickets on sale now

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Patwin is ‘Where The Wild Things Walk’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    Gratitude all around for the Breakfast for Heroes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Broad new vaccination law is a must

    By Tom Elias | From Page: B4

    Seniors, you CAN get there from here

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4 | Gallery

     
    Hey, do you want that glaucoma fixed?

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5Comments are off for this post

    .

    Sports

    DHS thunders past the Herd

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Wong leads UCD charge in Big West women’s golf tourney

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD boxing club making a name on the national scene

    By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS girls basketball pioneer Iten dies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils edge closer to Delta League soccer title

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Rockabilly music will fill the park Wednesday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    One-man show ‘Buyer and Cellar’ brings non-stop laughter

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Hear Wealth of Nations at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘Frozen’ Mini-Musicals to be presented

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Baldini to conduct Camellia Symphony

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    DMTC sets auditions for ‘Evita’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Stories told at Third Space

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    UCD assistant professor to give lecture at de Young Museum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Robert Leigh Cordrey

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Alice Catherine Micheltorena

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7