The Team


Yaroslav Kurakin Profile PhotoPresident: Yaroslav Kurakin
Yaroslav is a fourth year aerospace engineering student. He joined the club his freshmen year, when he built and launched a rocket for the October Skies competition. In his second year he was Test Rocket team lead and designed recovery and avionics test rockets. In his third year, he was the Public Relations Officer and Propulsion Lead. This year, he’ll be leading the team with his diverse knowledge of the HM-7H propulsion system.


Eric Venega Profile PhotoVice President: Eric Venenga
Eric is a third year aerospace engineering student who joined the club in his first year. He previously worked as a critical member of the Ground Support team. As Vice President, he will assist Yaroslav in advancing the club and reaching our goals. He will also lead the cert rocket competition in early fallquarter.


Luis Profile PhotoTreasurer: Luis Curiel
Luis is a fourth year aerospace engineering student. He joined the club in his second year, and has worked on a number of our teams throughout his tenure. He previously served as the Student Safety Officer Deputy overseeing a number of our fuel grain pours. As Treasurer, he will maintain the club’s finances and ensure our ability to succeed in the competition.


Paul Profile Photo

Secretary: Paul Berge
Paul is a fourth year aerospace engineering student who joined CPSS in his second year. He previously helped set up and operate the rocket during test fires and was critical to the design of the Ground Support and Propulsion infrastructures. As Secretary, he will maintain our documents, assist other officers, take notes, and help club’s day-to-day operation.


Chris Young Profile PhotoPublic Relations Officer: Chris Young
Chris joined CPSS as a first year. He has previously contributed as a member of Ground Support and as the Student Safety Officer. As PR Officer, he will maintain club’s social media, reach out to recruits and alumni, and help the club to be well known on and off campus.



Charles Van Steenwyk Profile PhotoStudent Safety Officer: Charles Van Steenwyk
The duty of Student Safety Officer is to ensure the club’s safe operation. The Student Safety Officer coordinates safety documentation and consolidates safety information from experts within the club. The SSO has the right to stop any activity if the activity appears to be hazardous. Charlie previously worked as Ground Support Lead, and has a diverse knowledge of club operation and how our rocket will function.


Team Leads

Alec Bluhm Profile PhotoPropulsion: Alec Bluhm
CPSS designs and builds its own rocket motors, and the propulsion team makes that happen. The dedicated propulsion team designs every component in the motor, precisely machines each one, and assembles them all into a functional hybrid motor. Alec previously managed fuel grain pours.


Patrick Chizek Profile Photo

Avionics: Patrick Chizek
The avionics system is one of the most technically challenging components on the rocket, and CPSS designs and builds it completely in-house. We are one of a handful of university teams working on an active control system for a rocket, and the dedicated avionics team is responsible for making it happen. Patrick has worked on Avionics since he joined CPSS.


Alaina Standish Profile PhotoSystem Integration: Alaina Standish
Complex systems require a great deal of support to work properly, and the systems integration team makes our success possible. They design rocket structures and components such as fin mounts and couplers, and build and test any mechanisms used in flight. This is Alaina’s second year as Systems Integration lead.


Marius Jatulis Profile PhotoRecovery: Marius Jatulis
The main purpose of any research and development team is to collect valuable data. In case of CPSS that data has to be collected in the flight and safely returned to the ground. Recovery team manufactures parachute and designed a way to successfully deploy it. They are in charge of safe return of our rockets. Marius previously worked in system integration and is known for his reliability in achieving his goals.


Eric Venega 2Ground Support/Data Acquisition: Eric Venenga
The ground support team assures that the launch equipment is in great working order, and ready for every flight and ground test. They handle the data acquisition systems for the club’s tests and build our test equipment, like a test stand or mass model.



Josh Firth Profile PhotoManufacturing: Josh Firth
A relatively new position, the Manufacturing Lead is in charge of making sure that machined parts are delivered on time. Historically, individual team leads have filled this role for their own needs. In our review of the last year, the club has decided it would be best to have one person in charge of knowing what we make and how to make it. Josh is a Shop Technician and skilled machinist.


Kevin Profile PhotoTest Rocket: Kevin Chouinard
At various stages in the design of our final competition rocket, it is necessary to test components and make sure we are building everything correctly. The Test Rocket Lead is in charge of making sure that all test rockets we need are available on time, with the capability to serve whatever needs we may have. Kevin is a Shop Technician and has firsthand experience with much of what we do in CPSS.



Dr Amelia Greig Profile Photo

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Amelia Greig

Dr. Greig has supported the team since she joined Cal Poly in Fall 2016. In university, she studied electric propulsion and developed the “Pocket Rocket,” which students at Cal Poly have continued development on. Classes she teaches include propulsion, space environments, and several graduate-level AERO classes.


Joe Carpico Profile Photo

Vice Faculty Advisor: Joe Carpico

Joe Carpico is a new faculty member with a exciting history in launch vehicles. Before joining Cal Poly in Spring 2017, he worked on pre-launch assembly for Titan, Sea Launch, and Antares. Classes he teaches include Senior Spacecraft Design, and Launch Vehicle Design.