Rice Eclipse is a diverse and constantly growing club, expanding from 5 to over 100 members since fall 2014. Majors represented include chemistry, computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, economics, and many more!

       Our ranks include a large number of underclassmen, who value the experience as a first exposure to hands-on engineering and problem solving. Many students learn practical skills like design and fabrication from their peers long before they encounter these topics in their courses, if at all. We are brought together by a passion for learning and innovation, and every member is dedicated to making his or her teammates reach their full potential as future engineers and scientists, no matter their skill level or academic level.  If you are a Rice student interesting in joining our endeavor, please fill out the New Member Sign Up Form.

       The team is led by a group of students who want to continue the club's growth as a source of lifelong learning and engineering innovation. The following are some brief bios of our 2018-2019 leadership team.


Sam Zorek


Samuel Zorek is a senior pursuing dual degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Policy Studies. He has prior experience in the technical engineering and policy sides of the space industry, both of which he hopes to leverage to advance the mission of the team. As President, Samuel is aiming to promote a culture of excellence and empower each and every member of the team to realize their rocket scientist potential. During his junior, sophomore, and freshman years, Samuel was the President, Chief Safety Officer, and a member of the injector plate sub-team.


Andre Sushchenko

Design Lead and Vice PresidenT

Our Design Lead and Vice President, Andre Sushchenko, is a junior mechanical engineering student born in Ukraine, but has since migrated to the mythical land of central New Jersey. Andre is a member of Lovett college, but you’ll usually find him at the OEDK working on a project or riding his longboard around campus. He loves helping other people with their projects, both as a lab assistant, and as a member of Eclipse. Last year, he helped dozens of members earn high powered certifications, and this year as Design Lead Andre will enthusiastically drive Eclipse to accomplish its goals. On top of being a fantastic mechanical engineer, Andre is a ton of fun to be around and will be a great leader for the club this year.


Ryan Udell

Secretary and TreasureR

Our Secretary and Treasurer, Ryan Udell, is a sophomore pursuing mechanical engineering and a certificate in the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership. He hails from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and he enjoys reading business books and watching rocketry videos in his spare time. Motivated to help students achieve their full aerospace capabilities, Ryan works tirelessly to manage the team's non-technical and business resources. During his freshman year, he was Recovery Team Lead for our annual Spaceport America Competition Rocket.

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Jeremy Palmer

PRopulsion Team Lead

Our Propulsion Lead, Jeremy Palmer, is a senior mechanical engineering student who hails from the majestic (but still inferior to central Jersey) highlands of northern New Jersey. Besides being a lab assistant at the OEDK, you can also see Jer Bear laying out on the IM fields representing his residential college (Baker) in ultimate frisbee and flag football. One of the best machinists at Rice, Jeremy is always ready to help teach you anything from lathing, CNC milling, and even 3D printing. Taking the club to new heights through unified vision, immense effort, and unprecedented organization as Design Lead last year, Jeremy is stepping down to be the Propulsion Lead this year. He plans to enjoy his last year at Rice to the fullest and launch the development of our own solid motors.


Alex Acosta

Aerodynamics and Structures Team Lead

Alex is a junior Mechanical Engineering student at Sid Rich and hails from Gainesville, Florida. Outside of Eclipse, you will often see Alex in the OEDK working as a lab assistant. In his free time, he enjoys circling the outer loop on runs or playing intense matches of the board game, Settlers of Catan, with his friends. After serving as the Test Stand team lead last year, he is excited to take on the challenge of leading the Aerodynamics team. Catch him next year launch the second version of his rocket for his level 2 certification attempt.


Tommy Yuan


Tommy was born in California, but has lived in Taiwan since he was three. He has been a member of Rice Eclipse since he was a freshman and enjoys the collaborative team environment. His goals as avionics lead are to bring more freshmen into the team and develop a technical payload for the Spaceport America competition rocket. In his free time, he enjoys playing repetitive phone games and drawing cows. He also spends a lot of time with his stuffed mushroom.


Katie DeSpain

Chief Safety Officer

Katie is a sophomore from Hanszen College majoring in civil and environmental engineering. Her goal is to have a career in the green energy industry. Katie grew up in Portland, Oregon and enjoys spending time outdoors, as well as singing in Rice's all-female acappella group, the Low Keys. Last year, she obtained her Level 1 certification and worked extensively on the mobile test stand project. This is Katie's first time in an officer position and she is looking forward to directly contributing to the club's success. She wants to ensure that Eclipse can fulfill all project goals in a safe and enjoyable environment, and encourage people from all majors and backgrounds to come see what this amazing club has to offer.

Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.
— Chris Hadfield