Letter From The Head

An update from the school, including faculty hires and the school's approach to the COVID-19 pandemic

Letter from the Head

Letter From The Head

Thank you for reading this year's issue of the Aerogram. We are again offering this primarily as a digitally based publication that allows for additional links and dynamic content. We think this is a nice complement to our healthy social media presence and regular postings of news items and announcements on our website. There are several articles here about research underway in the School and a few articles featuring work some of our alumni are pursuing. We've again organized these stories to show how the work in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics aligns with our four themes: safe, efficient and sustainable air transportation; access to and exploration of space; maintaining defense and security; and using aerospace to facilitate new opportunities. We hope these stories convey the commitment and excellence the people of AAE bring to these activities.

We are adding three new faculty members to aeronautics and astronautics during the 2021-22 academic year. In August, Professor Leifur Leifsson joined us in our aerospace systems area after several years as a faculty member at Iowa State. Professor David Arnas also joined AAE in August as part of our astrodynamics and space applications area; he has previous teaching experience in Spain and recently completed a post-doctoral position at MIT. In January 2022, after completing a post-doctoral position with NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, Professor Kenshiro Oguri also will join us as part of the astrodynamics and space applications area. At the end of last academic year, Professor John Sullivan retired after a productive Purdue career, including a term as head; we will miss John's contributions. During 2021-22, we also will be searching for additional faculty members to extend and enhance the research we conduct in the School and to assist with our educational mission.

The growth in AAE continues with another student enrollment record. We now have 1,077 undergraduate students and 603 graduate students. Just 10 years ago, we had 546 undergraduate and 369 graduate students. Even with this growth, we are maintaining our strong reputation; we have returned to fourth in the 2022 U.S. News and World Report rankings for undergraduate aerospace engineering programs.

We began this academic year with the coronavirus pandemic still present. Our research continued through the pandemic with protocols and operating procedures to keep everyone safe and healthy. Classrooms are back to full density this year, while students, staff and faculty are wearing masks inside buildings as an additional layer of protection. Via Purdue's self-reporting system, 80 percent of students, 75 percent of staff and 90 percent of faculty were vaccinated as of early September. We are hosting visitors on campus, and in-person events restarted in September with the Charles Rolls and Henry Royce Memorial Lecture.

Thanks to all of you for your continuing interest in and support of what we do in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. As we make our way through this academic year facing some continuing challenges from the pandemic and adjusting to our increasing enrollment, we value the numerous ways you interact with us. When you are ready to visit, we are looking forward to welcoming you back to campus.

Return to Aerogram 2021