Join our team!

SEA Lab is offering a number of research projects for undergraduate and MEng students in Fall 2022. Please email Prof. Haji (maha@cornell) with interest by Thursday 9/1/22. For project descriptions, please see the COE/CIS project portal:


Undergrad or MEng

  • Wave energy conceptual design tradeoff study (MAE, SYS, CEE)
  • Wave energy value metrics and economics modeling (ECON, AEM, SYS, CEE, MAE)
  • Wave energy prototyping – controls engineer (MAE, ECE)
  • Wave energy prototyping – power electronics and generator (ECE)
  • Wave energy prototyping – electronics and embedded software (ECE, CS)
  • Wave energy prototyping – mechanical design and testing (MAE)
  • Hydropower collegiate competition (any major)
  • Marine energy collegiate competition (any major)

MEng only

  • Optimal siting for integrated pumped hydro reverse osmosis systems (CEE, CS, ECE, MAE, SE)
  • Design optimization for offshore structures (CS, MAE, SYS)


Maha Haji, PhD

Assistant Professor

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

555 Upson Hall


Prof. Maha Haji joined Cornell University in 2021 as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Systems Engineering. At Cornell, her lab develops designs for symbiotic offshore systems to sustainably extract resources from the ocean such as power, water, and food, as well as mineral resources key to the progress of clean energy. Previously, Prof. Haji was an MAE Faculty Fellow at Cornell and a Postdoctoral Associate in the Engineering Systems Laboratory in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT where her research focused on utilizing multidisciplinary design optimization to develop a floating platform, known as PEARL, to provide recharging and data offloading capacity for autonomous underwater vehicles. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical and Oceanographic Engineering in 2017 from the Joint Program between MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she focused on the design and prototyping of a symbiotic system to harvest uranium from seawater. Prof. Haji has worked in industry as an engineering consultant at ATA Engineering, where she used analysis-driven design to solve problems ranging from aircraft and rockets to robotics and rollercoasters. She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a B.A. in Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley.


Postdoctoral Researchers

Arezoo Hasankhani

Postdoctoral Researcher

Mechanical Engineering


Arezoo Hasankhani is a postdoctoral research associate, focusing on the design, optimization, and control co-design of renewable energy systems. She received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2022 from the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering, Florida Atlantic University. During her Ph.D., she focused on design, path planning, optimization, and control co-design of marine current turbines. Prior to her Ph.D., she received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Amirkabir University in electrical engineering in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Her research interests include optimization, control, control co-design, renewable energy systems, and reinforcement learning.

Doctoral Students

Matthew Haefner

Ph.D. Student

Systems Engineering


Matt is a Ph.D. student in Systems Engineering focusing on the design optimization of Integrated Pumped Hydro Reverse Osmosis (IPHRO) systems. He received his B.S. and M.Eng. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University in May of 2020 and December of 2020, respectively. As an undergraduate and M.Eng student, Matt conducted research with Professor Avedisian on biofuel droplet combustion in microgravity. He also played the trumpet in Cornell’s Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, and occasionally in Cornell’s Chamber Orchestra. Outside of research, Matt enjoys playing the trumpet, golfing, hiking, and a good crossword puzzle.

Kapil Khanal

Ph.D. Student

Systems Engineering


Kapil is a Ph.D. student in Systems and is interested in the interdisciplinary research in Systems, Optimization, Computation and Mathematical modeling. In his free time, He enjoys hiking, traveling and playing/watching/analyzing soccer. Originally from Nepal, he received his B.S degree in Mathematics and Data Science from Winona State University, MN in Aug 2020 and worked as a Data Analyst for a year. During his undergrad, he worked with Prof. Carl Ferkinhoff on analyzing emission lines from early galaxies and later as a part of summer REU with Prof. Kostas Pelechrinis on improving xG model for soccer event data. His current research interests involves Complex Systems, Multidisciplinary Design Optimization and Scientific Machine Learning.

Rebecca McCabe

Ph.D. Student

Mechanical Engineering


Personal Website

Becca is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering interested in the design of renewable energy systems. She enjoys solving integrated mechanical, electromagnetic, fluid, and controls problems through simulation, systems design, and prototyping. Becca graduated from MIT in June 2021 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. At MIT, she focused on electric vehicles, writing her bachelor’s thesis on electric motor optimization for Formula SAE cars. Her current research involves offshore wind and wave energy. In her free time, she enjoys running, swimming, and tinkering with side projects.

Olivia Murphy

Ph.D. Student

Mechanical Engineering


Olivia is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering interested in offshore integrated wind-wave energy systems, sustainable mineral extraction, and green hydrogen production. She graduated from Prairie View A&M University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in May 2020 and an MS in Engineering in August 2021. As an undergraduate research student, she studied scaffold designs for bioinspired craniofacial bone implants and optimal axis orientation for offshore wind turbines. Her master’s thesis investigated biofuel secondary breakup processes through parametric and comparative analyses of secondary breakup models. In the SEA Lab, Olivia is working on modeling and analyzing an offshore wind-powered system that extracts hydrogen and critical minerals from seawater. Outside of the lab, Olivia is a proud plant mom who enjoys tending to her plants. She also enjoys walking trails, traveling, and spending quality time with her friends and family.

Master’s Students

Junyi Jiang

M.Eng. Student

Material Science and Engineering


Junyi is an M.Eng. student in Materials Science and Engineering and is interested in renewable energy systems and melt smelting. He received his B.S. degree in Powder Materials Science and Engineering from Central South University in June of 2021. During his undergrad, he focused mainly on medium entropy alloys and high entropy alloys. In the SEA Lab, Junyi is currently working on analyzing an offshore wind-powered system that extracts critical minerals and hydrogen from seawater. He enjoys skiing, football, traveling in his free time.

Undergraduate Students

Ana Sofia Alonso Munera

Undergraduate Student

Mechanical Engineering


Sofia is a sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering. She is currently working on developing hydrodynamic simulations to enable design optimization of the PEARL system. She is from Madrid, Spain. Outside of school, Sofia loves running, skiing, and reading. She also loves traveling and exploring the outdoors with family and friends.

Mirelys Carcana Barbosa

Undergraduate Student

Engineering Physics

University of California, Berkeley

Mirelys Carcana Barbosa is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is studying Engineering Physics. Previously, she graduated as Valedictorian of the Class of 2018 from the International Baccalaureate Program of Old Mill High School. At UC, Berkeley, Mirelys has been working under Professor Karl van Bibber in the Haloscope at Yale Sensitive to Cold Dark Matter (HAYSTAC) collaboration, as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, aiding in the search of finding dark matter axions. Mirelys plans to continue to conduct research by pursuing a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. This summer, Mirelys is working in the SEA Lab at Cornell University under Professor Maha Haji, as a Future Leader of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (FLAME) Scholar, to improve adsorbent strategies for mineral extraction from seawater. Her dream job consists of becoming a research professor, along her academic interests of continuum mechanics, dynamics and fluid mechanics. Outside of the lab, she enjoys reading, writing, learning new instruments and playing volleyball.

Gabriel Ewig

Undergraduate Student

Mechanical Engineering


Gabriel is an undergraduate student studying Mechanical Engineering with a focus on environmental sustainability. In the lab, his work involves designing and testing a miniature wave energy converter to teach K-12 students about renewable energy. Gabriel also enjoys exploring the outdoors and is a mechanic at a local bike shop.

Isabel Mejía-Roberts

Undergraduate Student

Mechanical Engineering


Isabel is an undergraduate studying Mechanical Engineering, minoring in French (class of 2024). She is working on developing automated water quality sensing systems for offshore aquaculture systems that would eventually be transmitted back to shore. She is very passionate about sustainability and blue technology. Outside of the lab she is a member of the Cornell Mars Rover project team, and on the Wild Roses Ultimate Frisbee team. In her free time she enjoys thrifting, hiking, drinking tea, and caring for her plants.

Catherine Millwater

Undergraduate Student

University of Central Florida



Catherine is an undergraduate at the University of Central Florida class of 2023 majoring in Physics, on the Astronomy track, minoring in math. She is a part of the Astrophysics and Planetary Science REU at Cornell during Summer 2022. In the lab, she is working on modeling and testing data transmission via satellite from floating offshore platforms, as applied to PEARL. During her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and scuba diving.


Ryan Cheng

Class of 2022 M.Eng. Student

Systems Engineering


Owais Khalid

Class of 2022 M.Eng. Student

Chemical Engineering


Ray Weng

Class of 2022 M.Eng. Student

Computer Science


Paul Young

Class of 2023 Undergraduate Student

Mechanical Engineering


Mumtaziah Faaz

Class of 2021 M.Eng.

Material Science and Engineering


Now Engineer at Intel Corp.