Council Member Biographies
Tia Benson Tolle is director of advanced materials in Boeing Commercial Airplane’s Innovation Center & Technology. In this position she has responsibility for a targeted technology portfolio spanning metals, composites, finishes, and assemblies for product development. Prior to joining The Boeing Company, she held the position of technology director of the Nonmetallic Materials Division at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. Her personal research and development focus has been on advanced polymeric composite materials, and has spanned basic research through transition to aerospace weapons systems, working with academia, industry, government and international collaborations. Prior to this, she has held several technical leadership positions within Air Force Research Laboratory’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. Before joining the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, she worked as a composites structures engineer at the Composites Advanced Development Program Office, Flight Dynamics Laboratory, Wright Laboratory, and prior to that as an instructor in the Space Shuttle Flight Training Division, Johnson Space Center, NASA. Benson Tolle currently serves on the MRS Board of Directors, has been active on several committees, and was a co-chair for the MRS 2011 symposium on Multi-scale Mechanics of Hierarchical Materials. She is also a fellow in the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE). She served as SAMPE Executive Cabinet Officer 1998-2005 and as the International President 2005-2006. As an international officer, she helped lead the development of a long term strategic vision; the initiative for globalization through international relations and coordination; assessment and refinement of the format and focus of the various conferences, publications and forums; and management of finance, marketing, and staff personnel. She has been active at the Local Midwest Chapter serving as chair, 1995, 1996, director, 1997 – 2007, and education chair 2007-2008 during which time she spearheaded a collaborative ASM-SAMPE Teacher Camp for the local region. She has organized numerous technical sessions and panels in various forums; was co-general chair for SAMPE Asia 2012; co-general chair, SAMPE International Technical Conference, 2007; and technical chair for the SAMPE International Technical Conference 2003.
She holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and an M.S. and Ph.D. in materials engineering from the University of Dayton.
Mary Cardenas is the LaFetra Chair in Environmental Engineering at Harvey Mudd College (HMC), a highly-selective private college of engineering and science in Claremont, California. She was the first female engineering professor at HMC. Her industrial experience includes propulsion engineering at Rocketdyne, where she worked on the Space Shuttle Main Engine, Atlas, and the National Aerospace Plane (X-30). She was a research scientist in environmental engineering at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Sandia National Laboratories. She revised, updated, and enlarged the book, “Modern Engineering for Design of Liquid-Propellant Rocket Engines” (Huzel and Huang). As an educator, she focuses on hands-on, project-based undergraduate engineering education, and was co-designer of the sophomore-level model-rocket-based experimental engineering course, and the first-year Studio Methods Engineering Design course. She has supervised undergraduate research projects on marine hydrokinetic turbine modeling; groundwater modeling for nuclear repositories; contaminant fate and transport in the Great Lakes; and model rocketry data acquisition. She is currently the Program Chair of the Environmental Engineering Division (EED) of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and has served at HMC as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and as the Engineering Clinic Director.
She received her B.Sc. in Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering from Iowa State University (1987), and her M.Sc. (1993) and Ph.D. (1994) in Mechanical and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Since joining Scientific Systems he has been involved with the demonstration of the ImageNav system as a means for GPS denied navigation for vehicles. At Aurora he was the lead propulsion engineer for the DARPA Rapid Eye aircraft and Vulture aircraft, performed cycle analysis, and design and trade study activity on a variety of proposed engine concepts in support of other programs, as well as supporting the NASA N+3 program in Phase 1 as Aurora’s PM and then Co-PI in Phase 2. In addition to these activities he has served as the IPT lead for the VTOL X-Plane Power Generation system under a DARPA contract and PI/PM on a variety of other SBIR/STTR programs for NASA and the US DoD. He served as the Chief Engineer on an Office of Naval Research Autonomous helicopter program to deliver aerial cargo for the Marines (AACUS). He served as the Director of Aerospace Systems and Directed several groups of researchers at Aurora’s Research and Development Center in Cambridge, MA working on developing, analyzing, and integrating aerospace systems.
Prior to moving to the east coast he worked for Space Exploration Technologies, and the Boeing Company in Southern California. He was involved in SpaceX from the beginning, helping to develop, test, qualify, and launch the company’s family of launch vehicles. He joined the company in 2002 when it was made up of less than 20 people and helped to grow the company to over 400 employees and a successful launch of the the Falcon 1 vehicle. At SpaceX Hollman was the director of propulsion development, which oversaw the design, development, and production of the Merlin engine. He also served as the responsible engineer for the Falcon 1 vehicle supporting the launch operations team at the range during assembly checkout and launch activities. He worked with his team to design and develop a variety of fluid flow components including but not limited to check valves, ball values, hydraulic actuators, vent/relief values, and butterfly valves for fuel and cryogenic service, developing, qualifying, and eventually flying, on the Falcon 1 flight vehicle.
He currently holds three patents ranging from high altitude combustion systems to small-unmanned aerial vehicles. In 2012 he was one of ~100 engineers and researchers from across the United States invited to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s Frontiers of Engineering Symposium and also attended the EU – USA forum in 2014 as one of ~65 engineers and researchers to participate in that event.