Here at Student Space Systems, we want to make sure that our leadership reflects the wants and needs of the general membership of the club very well. Due to this, the Executive Board is elected directly by the General Members at the end of each year by a process of Single Transferable Vote.
Take a few minutes to meet the Board Members of Student Space Systems!
Technical President: David Liljewall
David is majoring in Aerospace Engineering and is the current Technical President for Student Space Systems. He joined SSS in September 2016 and has previously worked as a Project Manager for Phase IV Engine Integration, Liquid V2 Igniter, and served as Director of Structures for the 2017-2018 academic year.
He is currently responsible for overseeing all technical departments, focusing on designing and fabricating the necessary systems to complete our first liquid engine hotfire test.
David has interned with Rolls-Royce, Orbital ATK (now Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems), and has had two internships with SpaceX at their testing facility in Texas, and at Cape Canaveral working on Pre-Launch Operations for a total of five Falcon 9 launches. When he’s not immersed in the world of rocketry or homework, he spends his time playing guitar in a band, reading, cooking, and playing video games with friends. He loves SSS and the wonderful opportunities it has given him, and he wants to ensure that all new and current members get as much out of it as he did.
Administrative President: Nick Schwengler
Nick Schwengler is a junior in Aerospace Engineering. He has been a member of Student Space Systems since his freshman year. He has worked a number of roles within the club, both administrative and technical, including Project Manager of V1 Engine Test Stand, Plumbing and Valves team member, and External Director.
His involvement in SSS has led to him receiving engineering internships at Ge Aviation and Northrop Grumman.
Nick was drawn to SSS because of the club’s ambitious goals and the unique opportunities that members can gain from involvement in the club. He is excited to help lead the club towards continued success and to ensure that all members can have a meaningful impact on the club.
Director of Propulsion: Miles Mckaig
Miles is a Junior studying Aerospace Engineering and Mathematics. He joined SSS in the fall of his Freshman year and has since lead the V2 Injector team. He now oversees the construction and testing of the Liquid V1 rocket engine, and the development of the Liquid V2 rocket engine. Recently, he has interned at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, refining models used for simulations of the SLS Main Propulsion System. In his free time, Miles enjoys gaming, writing music, and watching copious amounts of Star Trek. His goals for the next year include improving new member training and retention, so the department can better prepare members for their work in the club.
Director of Structures: David Liljewall
David Liljewall (Aerospace Engineering, Physics, 2019) is the Director of Structures. He joined SSS in September 2016 and has previously worked as a Project Manager for Phase IV Engine Integration. David is currently responsible for overseeing the design, analysis, and construction of the Liquid V1 rocket, as well as assisting in the development of a Rapid Reuse rocket that will act as a test bed for pertinent liquid rocket systems. When he’s not immersed in the world of rocketry or homework, he spends his time playing guitar in a band, reading, and building a small plasma chamber with a friend. Recently, he has interned with SpaceX and Orbital ATK working on Falcon 9 and Space Launch System booster testing. He loves SSS and wants to give the Structures Department, as well as every other member, the best experience possible.
Director of Avionics: Luke Smith
Luke is a Senior pursuing a BS in Computer Science. He has been an active member in the Avionics department for two years, and he has served as Project Manager for the Turbo Electronics team. Luke was drawn to SSS because of the unique perspective members gain in such an ambitious, interdisciplinary atmosphere. His plans to grow the Avionics department involve fostering an ideal team environment, setting clear goals, and managing the limited time of members efficiently. While he is not doing homework or projects in SSS, Luke enjoys playing drums in his band, finding new trails to hike, and cooking.
Director of Special Projects: Varun Bhargava
Varun Bhargava is a sophomore in Aerospace Engineering, with a minor in Computer Science. He joined Student Space Systems in the first few days of his freshman year due to SSS being the only club on campus dealing with high-powered rocketry, a field of aerospace that has captured his imagination for years. During his freshman year, Varun worked within the Structure's Department, in which he was a Project Manager for actuating fins technology, a research and development project with 5 members. His positive experience in both actuating fins and SSS as whole inspired him to join the Special Projects department as its director, a role through which he hopes to reintroduce competitions to SSS, diversify projects for greater access to all types of students, and streamline research and development efforts.
External Director: Nick Schwengler
Nick Schwengler is a sophomore in Aerospace Engineering. He has been a member of Student Space Systems since his freshman year. He spent his time as the project manager for the development of the test stand that will be used to test SSS’ first liquid engine. He also was an active member in the external department. His heavy involvement in the club has helped him obtain an internship with GE Aviation.
Nick was drawn to SSS because of the club’s ambitious goals and the unique opportunities that members can gain from involvement in the club. He is excited to get more students involved in SSS and to work closely with companies that are interested in the club and its goals.
Internal Director: Caitlin BenVau
Caitlin BenVau is a junior in Mechanical Engineering. She joined Student Space Systems late in her freshman year and worked on liquid V1 propellant feed systems before taking over second semester her sophomore year. During her time as Internal Director, she hopes to increase member retention, better organize the club's resources, and make all members feel involved with the work they do. In her free time she likes to rock climb, exercise, working on a co-op for Caterpillar, and catch up on sleep.
Safety Director: Lisa Rosov
isa Rosov is a sophomore in Aerospace Engineering. She was immediately drawn to SSS at the beginning of her freshman year because of all of the complex technical projects and industry skills that members could gain. She worked in propulsion on the cooling systems team where she researched and modeled a cooling system for SSS’s liquid V2 rocket.
In her free time, Lisa enjoys reading old books, playing sports like tennis and fencing, and visiting parks in the Urbana-Champaign area. She interned at GE Aviation over the summer, and hopes to bring new skills and resources back with her to SSS. Lisa is excited to ensure the safety of both Student Space Systems members and its projects over the coming year.
Treasurer: Jacob Crow
Jacob is currently a sophomore studying aerospace engineering at the University of Illinois. He has been a part of SSS since his first semester, been a part of LV2 Fuels and Plumbing and was the treasurer for the last semester. This year, he plans to continue the financial success of the club. In his free time, he enjoys playing and watching soccer, working out and traveling.