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Catherine Mavriplis is a Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. She teaches and does research in computational aerodynamics and other fluid dynamics at the University of Ottawa. 

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What is your most memorable CASI experience so far?

Well, I was a member back in the 1990s but being in the U.S. I let that go for a while until I came back to Canada in 2009. My most memorable CASI experience as an adult has to be hosting the first Women in Aerospace Reception at the 2013 CASI AERO meeting and listening to Karen Deme, Bombardier pilot, tell us about her job. My most memorable CASI experience, however, has to be as a young kid watching my Dad, Fotis Mavriplis, give a speech and receive a CASI award (several in fact).

What’s the highest altitude and speed you’ve reached?
I assume you mean in an aircraft because otherwise it’s skiing. I have to think it’s about 37,000ft and just under Mach 1, say .81 or .84 but I always like to sit near the wing so I can be near the transonic part where Mach >1 (commercial flight). For skiing it’s 13,050ft and I am not quite sure the speed, Mach .026?

What is the favourite moment of your career thus far?
There are too many to mention, but seeing a PhD student graduate is pretty special. Winning a big grant is pretty exciting too.

What was your childhood dream job?
Not sure exactly. Whenever I saw someone doing a job, I would think about how I could do it better: such as my school principal.

Guilty pleasure: what can you not live without? Milk.

Who would you like to see play the lead role if Hollywood made a movie of your life?
When I was working on tornadoes in Oklahoma, a few people likened me to Helen Hunt, so let’s say Helen Hunt minus the wet t-shirt.

Helen Hunt

What is your favourite Aero or Astro activity?
I did fly a glider once, that was pretty fun, and I rode in a hot air balloon. But simulating turbulence on an aircraft wing recently (starting from hand-written mathematical equations and ending up with a visualized computation of the whole mess) was pretty exciting after so many years working in the field.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been offered? “Take the ball and run with it.” I wish someone had told me this a lot earlier though.

Where would you like to go that you haven’t been yet?  I would like to go skiing in the Swiss or Italian Alps.

Star Wars or Star Trek?  Nowadays neither. I did watch Star Trek on TV as a kid, but only because my brother did.

What decision in your life would you most like to change and why? I think I should have followed my gut instinct more (and not listened to people who led me astray): it has turned out to be bang on so many times.