Welcome to Spring 2022, catching up with Dept. Head Zhongquan 'Charlie' Zheng

01/05/2022

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With 1,032 undergraduate and 86 graduate students, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is the biggest department in Utah State University’s College of Engineering. I am excited for you to read about just a few of our many achievements and projects from 2021. I am very proud of our faculty and students and cannot wait to see what they will continue doing.

Leading in Nuclear Engineering Research

Last fall, assistant professors Nadia Kouraytem and Hailei Wang each received $800,000 grants from The United States Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program. Kouraytem will work with assistant professor Ryan Berke to explore the use of 3-D printed metals in constructing nuclear reactor components. Wang will work on a study focused on economically integrating nuclear and renewable energy sources with assistance from assistant professor Matthew Harris.

USU mechanical and aerospace engineering professors Nadia Kouraytem and Hailei Wang are working to advance the future of nuclear power with two new research projects. Kouraytem (pictured here with student Britney Dikwa-Nkrumah) will work with assistant professor Ryan Berke to explore the use of 3-D printed metals in constructing nuclear reactor components. (Matt Jensen/USU)

USU mechanical and aerospace engineering professors Nadia Kouraytem and Hailei Wang are working to advance the future of nuclear power with two new research projects. Kouraytem (pictured here with student Britney Dikwa-Nkrumah) will work with assistant professor Ryan Berke to explore the use of 3-D printed metals in constructing nuclear reactor components. (Matt Jensen/USU)

Celebrating Faculty and Student Success

I’m also very proud to announce that assistant professor Doug Hunsaker won the 2021 Engineering Educator of the Year Award from the Utah Engineers Council. Hunsaker has worked incredibly hard since joining the department and we’re fortunate to have him. Please join me in congratulating him as well as our student scholarship winners, James Mullen, Gabrielle Van Brunt and Dellan Fielding. The council recognized each of these students for showing great promise and being exemplary in their field.

Assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering Doug Hunsaker received the 2021 Engineering Educator of the Year award. (Matt Jensen/USU)

Assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering Doug Hunsaker received the 2021 Engineering Educator of the Year award. (Matt Jensen/USU)

Adapting Student Competitions During COVID

For the past two years, nearly every collegiate competition was canceled due to COVID. In response, our department hosted two "alternative" competitions in the spring of 2021— one for the Design Build Fly team and one for the University Rover Challenge team.

While not a perfect replacement for the real collegiate design competitions that each of these teams had hoped to participate in, the local options encouraged students to continue to work towards creating the best designs possible for their respective competitions. Additionally, since these competitions were held locally, friends, family, and community members were able to see firsthand what these students accomplished their senior year at USU.

For the past two years nearly every collegiate competition was canceled due to COVID. So, this past spring the MAE department hosted two 'alternative' competitions. One for the Design Build Fly team (pictured here) and one for the University Rover Challenge team. (USU)

For the past two years nearly every collegiate competition was canceled due to COVID. So, this past spring the MAE department hosted two "alternative" competitions. One for the Design Build Fly team (pictured here) and one for the University Rover Challenge team. (USU)

Welcoming Students to New Master’s Programs

This spring semester the first cohort of graduate students begins our newly established Master of Space System Engineering program. This is a joint program between our department and the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Utah State.

We are also in the process of establishing another new graduate program — a Master of Composite Materials and Structures. This is part of the Center for Advanced Composite Materials and Structures and uses funding from our college and the State of Utah. Both programs are specifically designed with graduate students and early or mid-career professionals with post-graduate education in mind.

We are thankful for your continuous support and look forward to working with you more in the future.

Best Wishes,
Zhongquan Charlie Zheng, PhD, Fellow of ASME, Associate Fellow of AIAA
Professor and Head

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Contact: Zhongquan Charlie Zheng, zzheng@usu.edu