Graduate Students / Postdocs


Benjamin Blackford

Ben graduated from Queen’s University in the spring of 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering.

During his four years of undergraduate studies, Ben was involved in the Queen’s Fuel Cell Team. Beginning as a general member, and eventually rising to mechanical manager, Ben worked to build a prototype vehicle running exclusively on hydrogen, that could carry its driver at 25 km/h while optimizing fuel efficiency. Ben and the QFCT team traveled to Detroit in 2016 for the Shell Eco Marathon – Americas, and placed first in their category. In addition to the fuel cell team, Ben is a member of the Queen’s Varsity Ultimate Team. With his team, Ben has won a silver and two gold medals at Nationals over the past four years, with the role of Captain for the most recent gold.

Ben now begins his studies with Dr. Kim and the SMSD team starting in the Summer of 2017, working closely with Pratt & Whitney. When not in the lab, he will continue to pursue both Ultimate and QFCT.


Christopher Carrick

Chris graduate from Queen’s with his BASc. in Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2014. As an undergrad, Chris was involved in the Queen’s Baja SAE Design team since his first year at Queen’s. Throughout the years, Chris took on larger projects and more responsibilities. In his second year, Chris was head of the design and manufacture for the steering system. In third year, he was the suspension design and manufacture lead. Finally, in his culminating year, Chris took on the responsibility of design lead for the entire vehicle and shared the title of project manager. Chris’s duties on the team were not only limited to design and manufacture of the Baja vehicle components; he was the main person in charge of the new members to the team, and dedicated his time to teaching and training the rookies. During his time on the team, Chris has gained countless hours of experience in SolidWorks CAD software, Mastercam CAM software and use of all the machines in Queen’s machine shop, including CNC mills and lathes, welding machines and a plasma cutters among others. During his summers, Chris has worked as a research assistant for Dr. Jack Jesweit, researching advanced metal forming, and has also furthered his practical knowledge working for Pure Ingenuity in Kingston as a junior engineer and shop hand.

Chris is now a part of Dr. Il-Yong Kim’s SMSD group, working on his PhD and taking part in projects with GM Canada, Bombardier Aerospace and Pratt and Whitney Canada. His primary focus will be in multi-objective topology optimization. Beyond his school life, Chris enjoys cycling, being outdoors, spending time with his friends and family, and getting muddy with the Baja team.


Vlad Florea

Vlad graduated in 2016 from Queen’s University with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics specializing in Mechanical Engineering. He is currently pursuing his Master’s of Applied Science under the guidance of Dr. Il-Yong Kim with the Structural and Multidisciplinary Systems Design Group (SMSD).

During his undergraduate career, Vlad took a keen interest in mechanical design for the Queen’s Space Engineering Team’s (QSET) Mars rover project. As the Mechanical Manager, and later as the Technical Consultant, Vlad lead a multidisciplinary group in tackling QSET’s most challenging design problems. In his final year, the team achieved second place in North America at the University Rover Challenge in Utah. During his time with the team, Vlad specialized in robotic manipulator design and in situ sample retrieval, testing and storage.  Throughout these experiences, and many other projects, Vlad has developed a deep understanding of computer-aided engineering using tools such as SolidWork, MATLAB, ANSYS, HyperWorks and OpenFoam.

Vlad is now working with Dr. Kim on projects with General Motors Canada, Bombardier Aerospace and The Power Collective focusing on structural design optimization using Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE). When not at work, Vlad can be found pursuing his passions for traveling, photography and skiing.


Kevin Fritz

Kevin completed his undergraduate studies at Queen’s University in 2013 with a BASc. in Mechanical Engineering. While studying, he completed a design project with the Baja SAE design team for the design and manufacture of the gearbox, and focused his studies on aerospace and automotive topics ranging from FEA to turbomachinery thermodynamics. He has several years of work experience as a Mechanical Engineer in the Oil and Gas industry with industrial equipment inspection, and fitness evaluation.

Kevin is currently pursuing his MASc. in FEA and design optimization under Dr. Kim. Outside of work he enjoys windsurfing, wakeboarding, mountain biking and working on his car. He is a Canadian certified ski instructor and a backcountry skier, and loves all things winter and mountains.


Patrick Kendall

Patrick graduated in 2017 from Queen’s with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a specific focus on Materials Science. He is currently pursuing his Masters of Applied Science under the supervision of Dr. Kim and Dr. Mechefske of Queen’s and Dr. Wowk of the Royal Military College. Pat works alongside all the Structural and Multidisciplinary Systems Design Team in Jackson Hall.

As an undergraduate, Pat took an interest in the Queen’s Baja SAE design team at Queen’s and became one of the senior members with the role of advising and mentoring younger members in the areas of vehicle dynamics. Pat’s primary project with the team was to develop a computer model that broke the car into masses, springs, dampers and inertial properties. The software could then simulate the vibrations in the car and the resulting vibrations could be related to vehicle performance. The team was able to place 6th in California out of over 100 teams through the United States and abroad.

Patrick focused his academics on computer aided design and materials science at an undergraduate level and uses the skills that he gained to aid his three advisors in the design of aircraft sandwich panels. Outside of Pat’s research he enjoys drumming in his cover band, playing golf, hockey and soccer and snowboarding.


Daozhong Li

Daozhong obtained his Master and Bachelor degrees in Engineering Mechanics in Dalian University of Technology, in 2007 and 2004, respectively. He then worked for MSC.Software as an application engineer and project manager for many years. His research and works were the analysis of the mechanical properties of aerospace crafts and components--such as strength, dynamics, thermal performance, etc.--for major aerospace companies in China. He also developed simulation tools to help customers to execute FEA quickly and easily.

He now joins Dr. Kim ’s SMSD lab to pursue Ph.D. degree. His research will focus on CAE and optimization for vehicle structures. Outside his research, he enjoys soccer, swimming and music.


Michael Nucci

Michael graduated from Queen’s University in 2017 with a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering, and is currently working towards his MASc under the supervision of Dr. Kim in the Structural and Multidisciplinary Systems Design lab.

As an undergraduate Michael worked as a part of the Queen’s FIRST Robotics Club, in which he worked as a mentor for high school students working as part a team participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition program. In the FIRST Robotics Competition, the teams of high school students have six weeks to design, build and program their robots to meet a set of objectives set out at the beginning of the six weeks. As a mentor, Michael taught valuable design and manufacturing skills to the students on the team. Additionally, during his undergraduate degree Michael gained work experience from Scotiabank as a summer student, where he worked on internal automation programs to assist in data migration.


Bill Poldon

Bill graduated from Queen’s University at Kingston with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering specializing in Material Science (B.A.Sc.) in Spring 2017. He is now pursuing a Master’s Degree (M.A.Sc.) under the supervision of Dr. Il Yong Kim in the Structural and Multidisciplinary System Design (SMSD) Group.

During his Undergraduate studies, Bill mentored a local FIRST robotics team for three years; a program which he participated in as a high school student.  He was also on the executive committee for the Queen’s Global Energy Conference which brought together many students and leaders in the energy field for a three-day conference. Bill has spent time working at AECOM Canada Ltd. as a Business Development Assistant and Noise/Acoustics Intern. He also served as a Sustainability Office Intern working on various sustainability and engineering projects at Physical Plant Services at Queen’s.

Away from academics, Bill enjoys playing hockey, rock climbing and hiking.


Stephen Roper

Stephen graduated from Queen’s University in 2016 with a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering specializing in Materials Science, and is currently pursuing his Master’s of Applied Science with the Structural and Multidisciplinary Systems Design Lab directed by Dr. Il Yong Kim.

While at Queen’s Stephen has actively combined his interests for mechanical design and optimization through various professional and academic projects. As a lead designer for the Queen’s Space Engineering Team (QSET), Stephen managed the development and analysis of critical mechanical components for the team’s prototype mars rover, placing 2nd in North America at the 2016 University Rover Challenge. Complimentary to this project, Stephen has developed skills in computer aided engineering and applied tools like SolidWorks, ANSYS and HyperWorks to multiple projects including a vehicle loop-wheel design, robotic manipulator, and composite electric bicycle frame. Before entering his final year at Queen’s, Stephen completed a 16-month internship with Ottawa-based company Neptec Technologies Corporation where he worked closely with the mechanical engineering division on product development and production. His primary responsibilities included mechanical design of advanced LiDAR sensors and even participated in a three-week technical field trial in North-Western Australia.

Stephen is now working with Dr. Kim and General Motors on multi-material and multi-joint topology optimization for advanced vehicle design. Outside of his MASc Stephen plays the drums, follows everything Elon Musk, and is now working on a next-generation rover design for QSET.


Luke Ryan

Luke graduated from the University of Calgary in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a specialization in Mechatronics Engineering. During his undergraduate he spent most of his time working with the Baja SAE team (Schulich Off-Road), starting out as a junior member and fabricator. In his final year on the team he became lead designer, lead fabricator, and team captain. His major design projects included a chassis design where he implemented an integrated nodal suspension mounting system, and a lightweight gearbox that reduced weight by more than 40% over the previous design. Between the third and fourth years of his degree he took a year to live and work in Switzerland at the Paul Scherrer Institute. While there he worked as an experimental researcher in the Laboratory for Thermal Hydraulics, gaining experience with a variety of optical fluid measurement methods, equipment, and software. After graduating Luke worked with medical physicists at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary developing modeling methods and manufacturing techniques for patient specific devices using 3D printing and composite materials.

Luke is now working in Dr. Il Yong Kim’s Structural and Multidisciplinary System Design laboratory on projects with Life Prediction Technologies Inc. and General Dynamics Canada-Mission Systems related to thermal/structural coupling and optimization. Outside of school Luke enjoys mountain biking, hockey, and helping out the Baja team back home.


Graeme Sabiston

Graeme completed his Bachelor’s in Engineering Physics in 2016 at Queen’s University with a focus on mechanical engineering. He continued his studies at Queen’s the following academic year, and transferred from a Master’s of Engineering in January 2017 to a M.A.Sc with the SMSD Group under the supervision of Dr. Kim.

Early in his undergraduate career, Graeme found an interest with the Queen’s Space Engineering Team and has since stepped into the role of Chief Technology Officer of satellite design for the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge. Graeme has had employment experience with the National Research Council where he was a lab assistant in the Molecular Beam Epitaxy Lab, eventually moving on to become the project manager and systems engineering lead on a tuneable-diode laser absorption spectrometer for mobile flight applications.

Graeme’s work with Dr. Kim is focused on topology optimization in metal additive manufacturing in collaboration with Pratt and Whitney Canada. Beyond his studies, Graeme enjoys all things fitness, baseball, rocking out with his band, motorcycling, and working with his team on the CubeSat.


Matt Schmitt

Matt graduated from Queen’s University in 2016 with a BASc. in Mining-Mechanical Engineering.  As an undergraduate student Matt worked with the Queen’s University Formula SAE Design & Race Team from 2011 to 2016; completing design and manufacturing projects in areas including suspension control arms, aerodynamics, driver controls, steering systems, drivetrain, and bodywork.  During his second season with the team, Matt served as the Composites Manager and Recruitment Manager.  Subsequently during his third season, Matt also took on the role of the Finance Manager.  Concluding his undergraduate career with the team, Matt served as the Team Captain during the 2015-2016 season.  Throughout his undergraduate degree, Matt has also accumulated 20 months of internship experience from industry work in both Canada and the United States as a Field Engineer, Estimating Engineer, and Systems Engineer.  Matt has extensive experience in SolidWorks, Mastercam, carbon manufacturing, CNC milling, CNC plasma cutting, database management, and system optimization.

Matt is currently working towards his PhD in Dr. Il Yong Kim’s Structural and Multidisciplinary Systems Design lab, focusing on the modelling of ultra-high strength steels (UHSS) in hot forming processes.  Matt is also working on projects in structural composite systems, focusing specifically on the numerical modelling of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) systems.  Beyond academia Matt is an avid skier, water-skier, dirt biker, runner, and skydiver.


Vishrut Shah

Vishrut obtained his Masters and Bachelors in Mechancial Engineering from SVIT Vasad and IIT Mandi in 2014 and 2016. During his Masters at Indian institute of Technology Mandi he worked on wideband vibration energy harvesting using piezoelectric materials. He developed the finite element model of the nonlinear bistable piezoelectric energy harvesting system and studied it experimentally. He also performed an internship at GREMEN lab in France working towards FEM analysis of a ZnO nanowire / polymer composite for mechanical energy harvesting.

Vishrut is now pursuing his Ph.D. in Dr. Kim ’s SMSD lab. His research will focus on CAE and optimization for vehicle structures. Outside his research, he enjoys hiking and treking, swimming and badminton.


Mengqian Sun

Mengqian Sun graduated from Harbin Institute of Technology, and obtained her bachelor’s and Master’s degree in 2013 and 2016, separately. She then worked for the Chinese University of Hong Kong for half a year. Her previous research work was mainly about designed and analysis of medical devices which were used to correct bony deformities. She has experiment in biomechanics, finite element analysis applied in bone remodeling. She also has experiment in parallel mechanism, involving screw theory, the kinematics and dynamics of parallel mechanism.

Now, Mengqian joins Dr. Il Yong Kim’s SMSD group to pursue her doctoral degree. She will focus on developing FE methodology to study impact on sandwich panel for aircraft. Outside of her studies, Mengqian enjoys badminton and table tennis.


Bradley Taylor

Bradley completed his undergraduate studies in 2013 with a degree in Engineering Physics. During his undergraduate studies, he focused primarily on computer aided design, and fluid mechanics. He has employment experience with mechanical design of aircraft parts, and also has extensive experience in finite element modelling, and topology optimization, and is pursuing his PhD. in design optimization under Dr. Kim.

Bradley works primarily with aircraft and turbine engine component design. His research revolves most heavily around the coupling of thermal and structural problems in topology optimization. Outside of his studies, Bradley enjoys basketball, ultimate Frisbee, taking table tennis much too seriously, and his dog.


Jaryd Traer

Jaryd Traer graduated from Queen’s Engineering in 2015 with a BASc. In Mechanical Engineering. During his undergraduate degree he specialized in Biomechanics, Kinematics of Human Motion, and Engineering Design. In his third year of undergraduate studies Jaryd was approached to begin a small business with a group of fellow engineers. The business plan was to offer students of Queen’s and the people of Kingston easy and affordable access to 3D Printing and Design Consultation Services. He was appointed the roles of lead technical manager and lead designer. He spent most of his time consulting with clients to help design components for projects as well as printing the final models. He is now the sole proprietor of the business and handles all operations.

Jaryd is currently working towards his MASc. with Dr. Il Yong Kim. He is currently working on a project for Pratt and Whitney Canada, with his research focusing on the use of Topology optimization in Metal 3D Printing, specifically attempting to create an optimization algorithm that will take into consideration the limitations of 3D printing and create an optimal design.

Jaryd is a huge sports fan and enjoys spending time on the golf course and watching anything sports related.


Neil Trivers

Neil graduated from Queen’s University with a BASc in Mechanical Engineering in 2017. His Work experience includes completing a 15 month professional internship at Sanofi Pasteur, working primarily in project management roles during design and upgrade projects for manufacturing facilities. In the final year of his undergraduate degree, he completed a research project supervised by Dr. Kim, studying the topics of modal analysis and frequency applications in large-scale topology optimization.

Neil is currently completing his MASc in Dr. Kim’s Structural and Multidisciplinary Design Group, where he is working on industry projects with Bombardier Aerospace. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing golf, and following his Toronto Blue Jays.


Garrett Vierhout

Garrett graduated from Queen’s University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. He is currently pursuing his Master’s of Applied Science under Dr. Il Yong Kim as a member of the Structural and Multi Disciplinary Systems Design Lab.

As an undergraduate student, Garrett was involved in the Queen’s Supermileage Team; a student team that designs and builds prototype vehicles for high levels of fuel efficiency. As a Body Team member and eventually the Body Team head, his major projects were the design and build of a light weight composite shell and a composite carbon fibre monocoque vehicle. In his final year, Garrett led QSM as the Team Captain to compete in the Shell Eco Marathon 2017 in Detroit, achieving a team record fuel efficiency. Off campus Garrett has held roles as an Engineering Student in Building Engineering Consulting at D.G Biddle and Associates and as a Nuclear Engineering Internship Student at Ontario Power Generation Nuclear. In these roles Garrett has gained experience in Project Management, Costing and Scheduling as well as a Computer Aided Engineering and associated tools.

Garrett is currently working with Dr. Kim on an industry project with Bombardier Aerospace. Outside of research, Garrett enjoys rugby, hockey, music and the outdoors.


Braden Warwick

Braden graduated from Queen’s University in 2015 with a degree in Engineering Physics. During his undergrad, Braden worked as a research assistant investigating sound propagation from offshore wind turbines. This introduced him to the field of sound and vibrations. He spent the summer after graduation working for Valcoustics Ltd. researching international regulations for off-shore wind turbine noise, as well working under Dr. Mechefske as a research assistant. He began graduate work in the fall of 2015 under Dr. Mechefske, as a M.ASc. candidate working on a project for Bombardier Aerospace. The project consisted of investigating the vibrational properties of rear engine mounted fuselage configurations using finite element analysis.

In November 2016 Braden was promoted to a Ph.D. student with Dr. Kim as a co-supervisor. His research within SMSD includes topology optimization of rear engine mounted fuselage configurations with the objective to minimize vibrations within the fuselage. When he is not in the lab, Braden enjoys lifting things up and putting them down.


Christopher Woischwill

Christopher graduated from Queen’s University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, and is currently working towards his Master’s degree in Dr. Kim’s Structural and Multidisciplinary Systems Design lab. During his undergraduate studies, Christopher was a founding member and director of the Queen’s Eco-Vehicle Team, a student team that designs and manufactures ultra fuel-efficient vehicles. His work experience includes developing work management software for the Canadian nuclear industry as well as developing curriculum materials for undergraduate courses in computer modeling and project management.

Christopher is currently working with Dr. Kim and General Motors on researching multi-material and large-scale topology optimization for automotive chassis design. Outside of academics, his interests include cycling, hockey, and playing guitar.


Wennian Yu

Wennian Yu received his B.Sc. in 2010 in mechanical engineering and automation from Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China; his M.Sc. in 2013 in mechatronic engineering from Chongqing University, Chongqing, China and his Ph.D. in 2017 in mechanical engineering from Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada. The title of his Ph.D. thesis is the “Dynamic modelling of gear transmission systems with and without localized tooth defects”. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at Queen’s University under the supervision of Dr. Mechefske and Dr. Kim. His research focus is on the dynamic modelling of gear transmission system, and condition monitoring of gear system for diagnostics, prognostics and health management. Wennian is currently involved with an industry project with the CheckFluid Inc., which requires a predictive health management (PHM) system for their products.