ICYMI: Faculty News

Awards and recognitions earned by Purdue AAE faculty

ICYMI Faculty News

ICYMI: Faculty News

Heister Honored By AIAA

Stephen Heister, the Raisbeck Engineering Distinguished Professor for Engineering and Technology Integration, was selected as the 2021 American Institute Aeronautics and Astronautics Wyld Propulsion Award winner. The award is presented for outstanding achievement in the development or application of rocket propulsion systems.

Stephen Heister

Heister was recognized during a virtual AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum Awards Ceremony in August for "continuous leadership in advancing rocket propulsion engineering through state-of-the-art computational and experimental research and decades of mentorship of students."

"It is humbling to be recognized by peers in the rocket propulsion community with this honor," Heister said.

Though he came to Purdue with a focus in solid rocket propulsion, Heister's interests branched into hybrid and liquid propellant rockets through his 31-year career at the University. He and his students have published experimental and theoretical modeling results in all aspects of chemical rocket propulsion and he is co-holder of a patent for a high-strength solid rocket propellant formulation.

Since 2014, a major focus of his research has been related to rotating detonation engines (RDEs). The RDE is a device that exploits continuous detonative combustion in a thin annular channel and has the potential to advance aerospace propulsion performance significantly.

Heister was named an AIAA Fellow in 2013.

The Propulsion Award and the James H. Wyld Memorial Award, honoring the developer of the regeneratively cooled rocket engine, were combined in 1964 to become the James H. Wyld Propulsion Award. It was renamed the Wyld Propulsion Award in 1975. Two other AAE professors have received the AIAA honor, Maurice Zucrow (1966) and John Robert Osborn (1995).

Marais Earns WIA Award

Karen Marais, associate head for undergraduate education, was selected to receive the 2021 Aerospace Educator Award by Women in Aerospace (WIA).

Marais, who joined the AAE faculty in 2009, was recognized for "excellent leadership and sustained dedication to aerospace education" and "tenacious advocacy for girls and young women in aerospace," a release from WIA said.

Karen Marais

Thirty other women have received the award, first presented in 1990. AAE alumna Seetha Raghavan, a professor at the University of Central Florida, was the most recent recipient in 2019.

"I am truly honored to be joining a list of such distinguished women, including some who personally inspired me on my own journey through graduate school," Marais said.

Full-length story can be found on AAE’s website.

Third Murphy Award Winner For AAE

Marais was one of five professors selected to receive the 2021 Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Teaching Award, Purdue University's top undergraduate teaching honor.

She was only the third AAE professor to win the award, joining Kathleen Howell (2013-14) and Severino Koh (1966-76). The honor, accompanied by a $10,000 cash award and induction into Purdue's Teaching Academy, is given to an associate or full professor who demonstrates superior ability in communicating material to stimulate students' desire to master the material and whose teaching responsibility doesn't stop at the classroom door.

"I put an enormous amount of effort into my teaching, and having it be recognized in this public way is really a great feeling," Marais said. "Students sometimes tell me in person that I've meant something to them, but having it acknowledged in this way, there's something special about that."

Full-length story can be found on AAE’s website.

New Faculty For 2021

In fall 2021, Leifur Leifsson joined AAE as an associate professor in structures and materials, and David Arnas joined AAE as an assistant professor in the astrodynamics and space applications group.

Leifsson's research focuses on computational modeling, optimization and uncertainty quantification of engineered systems. Specifically, Leifsson creates new and efficient surrogate-based approaches using novel multifidelity methods and machine learning.

Arnas started doing research in astrodynamics, satellite constellation design and applied mathematics. He has continued to diversify his research with work on perturbation theory, mission analysis and algorithm generation for different applications including star-trackers, database searching or the solution of differential equations.

Faculty Promotions

Five faculty members in AAE had promotions approved by Purdue University's Board of Trustees in April 2021 and were effective August 2021.

Michael Sangid and Dengfeng Sun were promoted to full professor. Shaoshuai Mou, Alexey Shashurin and Carson Slabaugh were promoted to associate professor with tenure.

Two Mechanical Engineering professors who have courtesy appointments in AAE also had promotions approved: Fabio Semperlotti to professor and Andres Arrieta to associate professor.

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