Spring 2024 News Recap

March 11, 2024

Since our last newsletter, our department has had a number of exciting changes, including the inauguration of a new university president. Dr. Elizabeth Cantwell is an accomplished engineer who previously served as senior vice president for research and innovation at the University of Arizona. She also served at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and NASA-led committees. We are honored to have her as a faculty member in our department.

The Engineer in Residence Program, held at The Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City, is organized by Dr. Doug Hunsaker and his students.

The Engineer in Residence Program, held at The Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City, is organized by Dr. Doug Hunsaker and his students.

Last year, the College of Engineering at Utah State University partnered with the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City to sponsor an exhibit called FLIGHT: The Next Leg, showcasing the achievements of our aerospace engineering faculty and students. This would not have been possible without the support from our department and the college. Particularly, Dr. Douglas Hunsaker has been designated as the Leonardo’s inaugural Engineer in Residence. He and his students at the Aerolab will conduct workshops and other events about flight at The Leonardo.

The Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department has once again made incredible headway in research. In 2023, our faculty earned over three million in grant funding. Some of them are featured in this newsletter.

A fellowship was established with a generous donation by USU alumni Nick and Laura Alley to recognize MAE Professor Emeritus, Dr. Warren Phillips. The Ph.D. students who receive the fellowship will have free rein to research their passion projects in aerospace engineering.

Our students have earned numerous scholarships and awards, such as Crystal Tingle, who was awarded the International University Student Leadership Experience Award from the Society for Advancement of Material and Process Engineering. Three students in MAE were selected to receive fellowships from the NASA Space Grant Consortium and another received the astronaut foundation scholarship.

Our highly regarded aerospace engineering graduate programs now have an additional online Master’s program to better fit the needs of those on the go. With the fast evolution of higher education, we hope to fulfil the expectations of both traditional and non-traditional students who will take advantage of our online program to enhance their socioeconomic mobility.

Finally, our students will showcase their capstone projects during Senior Design Night. Tons of MAE projects, such as an exoskeleton on wheels and competition-ready rockets, each as unique and outstanding as the rest, will be put on display on Wednesday, May 1 for hundreds of attendees to view.

I cannot wait to bring you more good news soon. Thank you for your continuous attention and support!


Zhongquan "Charlie" Zheng

Zhongquan "Charlie" Zheng

Department Head, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering