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From College Freshman to University Professor

Published in Creating Tomorrow – Oct. 15, 2016 – Meet Dr. Munro. You’ve probably seen him around campus or walked past the lab where he spent countless late nights as a graduate student. Those who know Troy Munro say he’s got a rock-solid positive attitude and a humble work ethic that has taken him further than many his age.

At age 29, Munro joined the mechanical engineering faculty at BYU and has earned a PhD in mechanical engineering from USU and a second PhD in Physics from Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. As an undergraduate student, he worked on cutting-edge research and flew on NASA’s reduced-gravity aircraft, known among fans as the ‘vomit comet.’

Troy Munro

USU alumnus Troy Munro (BS, MS '12, PhD '16 - Mechanical Engineering) recently joined the engineering faculty at BYU.

Munro’s mentors say he’s building the groundwork to become a top leader in thermal, materials and energy engineering research.

“He’s really an example of someone who started at the very beginning and has worked his way to the top,” said Dr. Heng Ban, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at USU and Munro’s major advisor. “He’s a first-generation college graduate who came to USU for an undergraduate degree and now he’s an assistant professor at a globally recognized university.”

The youngest of four siblings, Munro graduated valedictorian in 2005 from Cyprus High School in Magna, Utah. During his junior year AP physics class, he convinced his teacher to give him and his teammates an A if they could build a trebuchet capable of launching a water balloon to a third-story window. They did, and, needless to say, they all got A’s.

Munro always had a knack for technical subjects, though he credits his parents and teachers for fostering his talent along the way.

Munro Lab

Munro's research focused on the thermal properties of materials. 

“When I was about 4 years old, my parents would give me a calculator and addition problems to do in church to keep me quiet,” he said with a laugh. “I enjoyed math and science, but I hadn’t decided on engineering until after graduation.”

He enjoys cycling, video games and spending time with his three children and wife, Michaelene. The two met while working as American Sign Language interpreters for a performance of Handel’s Messiah and shared an instant connection.

“I first started learning ASL on my mission when I spent quite a bit of time with a missionary who was deaf,” he explained. “I picked up a sign language book at the library and tried to interact with him as much as possible. Then I came here and took a sign language class and joined the Deaf Education Student Association.

“I found out that I was really passionate about helping people,” he added. “I feel like teaching and mentoring students gave me the best opportunity to interact with a fair number of people and to have an influence for good in their life.”

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Media Contact: Matt Jensen – Utah State University, College of Engineering | matthew.jensen@usu.edu | office: 435-797-8170 | cell: 801-362-0830 | engineering.usu.edu | @engineeringUSU