2016 - 2019: University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
PhD Mechanical Engineering: 3.68/4.00 GPA
Dissertation: Influence of objective functions on the identification of material model parameters from experimental data pdf.

2014 - 2016: Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
MEng Mechanical Engineering: cum laude
Thesis: Obtaining non-linear orthotropic material models for pvc-coated polyester via inverse bubble inflation pdf.

2009 - 2013: University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO
BSc Mechanical Engineering: 3.72/4.00 GPA with honor

Professional experience

Sandia National Laboratories

2018: Research & Development Graduate Intern

Works in the Verification Validation (VV), Uncertainty Quantification (UQ), Credibility Process group. R&D of statistical methods to estimate extreme tail probabilities with a limited number of samples.

University of Florida

2016 - present: Research Assistant / Instructor

Applied optimization to find model parameters that match experimental data, and research on quantifying the difference between experimental data and numerical models. Created and taught a Python Programming course.

UTC Aerospace Systems

2013 - 2014: Manufacturing Engineer
2012: Manufacturing Engineer Intern

Worked directly with all OEM final assembly lines to interface with Product Engineering on issues related to manufacturing. Participated on Integrated Product Development Teams to improve manufacturing processes associated with specialty aircraft seats (pilot, flight attendant, and observer) for commercial platforms.

University of Colorado - Colorado Springs

2010 - 2013: Student Assistant IV

All-purpose IT wizard. Graphic design guru.


Peer-reviewed journal articles

  1. Jekel, C.F., Venter, G., Venter, M.P., Stander, N. and Haftka, R.T., 2018. Similarity measures for identifying material parameters from hysteresis loops using inverse analysis. International Journal of Material Forming, pp.1-24. doi:10.1007/s12289-018-1421-8 pdf

  2. Jekel, C.F., Venter, G. and Venter, M.P., 2017. Modeling PVC-coated polyester as a hypoelastic non-linear orthotropic material. Composite Structures, 161, pp.51-64. doi:10.1016/j.compstruct.2016.11.019 pdf

  3. Jekel, C.F., Venter, G. and Venter, M.P., 2016. Obtaining a hyperelastic non-linear orthotropic material model via inverse bubble inflation analysis. Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, 54(4), pp.927-935. doi:10.1007/s00158-016-1456-8 pdf

Conference papers

  1. Jekel, C. F., Haftka, R. T., Venter, M. P., and Venter, G. Cross Validation to Select Material Models with Bulge Inflation Tests on PVC-coated Polyester. Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation, September 2019. pdf

  2. Jekel, C. F., Grechuk, B., Zhang, Y., and Haftka, R. Comparison of Chebyshev’s Inequality and Non-parametric B-Basis to Estimate Failure Strength of Composite Open Hole Tension Tests. The World Congress of Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, May 2019. pdf

  3. Jekel, C. F., and Romero, V.J. Bootstrapping and Jackknife Resampling to Improve Sparse-Data UQ Methods For Tail Probability Estimates with Limited Samples, ASME V&V Verification and Validation Symposium May 2019. pdf

  4. Jekel, C.F., Haftka, R.T., Venter, G. and Venter, M.P., 2018. Lack-of-fit Tests to Indicate Material Model Improvement or Experimental Data Noise Reduction. In 2018 AIAA Non-Deterministic Approaches Conference (p. 1664). doi:10.2514/6.2018-1664 pdf

Technical reports and other non-refereed papers

  1. Jekel, C.F. and Venter, G., 2019. pwlf: A Python Library for Fitting 1D Continuous Piecewise Linear Functions. pdf

  2. Jekel, C.F. and Haftka, R.T., 2018. Classifying Online Dating Profiles on Tinder using FaceNet Facial Embeddings. arXiv preprint arXiv:1803.04347 pdf



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Courses taught

2017: Python Programming - 1 credit hour graduate course - Syllabus - Course material

Created and taught the first Python Programming course in the MAE department at the University of Florida. The course covers topics from the basics of Python to the most popular scientific Python libraries in an effort to prepare graduate students to perform research in Python.

Honors and awards

2016: University of Florida GSFA - four year graduate school fellowship
2016: Stellenbosch departmental bursary - three year PhD funding
2016: MEng, obtained cum laude
2014: Wilhelm Frank Trust - research funding (~$50k secured with team)
2013: BSc, obtained with honor - graduated third in class
2010: Reisher Family Scholarship - three year award
2009: Braxton Technologies Scholarship - four year award


2019: Isotropic and orthotropic parameter identification from full field bulge inflation tests on PVC-coated polyester. The Seventh International Conference On Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation, Cape Town, South Africa.

2019: Advances with Reviewing Personalized Tinder Profiles Using FaceNet and Historical Preference. University of Florida Data Science and Informatics Spring Symposium, Gainesville, Florida.

2018: Conservative Estimation of Tail Probabilities from Limited Sample Data. University of Florida Workshop Risk Management Approaches in Engineering Applications, Gainesville, Florida.

2018: Using FaceNet to automatically like Tinder profiles based on individual preference. University of Florida Data Science and Informatics Spring Symposium, Gainesville, Florida.

2018: Lack-of-fit Tests to Indicate Material Model Improvement or Experimental Data Noise Reduction. AIAA Non-Deterministic Approaches Conference, Kissimmee, Florida.

2015: Obtaining Material Models for Inflatable Structures via Inverse Bubble Inflation. Stellenbosch University Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering Department Research Colloquium, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

2015: Obtaining Material Models for use in Finite Element Analyses of PVC-coated polyester via an Inverse Bubble Inflation Method. CIMNE VII International Conference on Textile Composites and Inflatable Structures, Barcelona, Spain.

2014: An Inverse Method for Generating Polymer Properties for use in Finite Element Analyses via Bubble Inflation Testing. SAImechE Mechanical, Manufacturing, and Materials Engineering Conference, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Professional service