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Ohio University’s engineering and technology dean kicks off key NASA event

Colleen Carow | Sep 21, 2018

Ohio University’s engineering and technology dean kicks off key NASA event

Colleen Carow | Sep 21, 2018

Dennis Irwin, dean of Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology, last week addressed leading industry and academic experts in aerospace at a NASA event showcasing the brightest young engineers and scientists at NASA Glenn Research Center.

Irwin has been acting president and CEO since July 1 of the Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI), which sponsored the “Evening with the Stars” event, held Tuesday at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The Ohio Aerospace Institute is a joint initiative of NASA Glenn, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the State of Ohio, 10 Ohio universities and industry.

“Ohio University’s strong relationship with the OAI -- the premier organization chartered by the state of Ohio to forge and expand partnerships among Ohio-based federal entities, industry, and Ohio’s universities – provides opportunities for our faculty, staff and students to collaborate on groundbreaking research,” Irwin said.

Irwin shared the podium with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, and NASA Glenn Director and astronaut Janet Kavandi; as well as three top NASA Glenn managers who profiled cutting-edge aerospace research facilities and programs that support current and future missions.

NASA Glenn Associate Director Janet Watkins expressed gratitude for Irwin’s involvement.

“The Ohio Aerospace Institute is a key partner of the NASA Glenn Research Center, and we are pleased that Dr. Irwin offered an engaging introduction at the “Evening with the Stars” event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Tuesday evening,” she said.

Russ College Associate Dean of Industry Partnerships Scott Miller noted that the event provided valuable networking time, including between Irwin and NASA Administrator Bridenstine; and with high-tech firms at OHIO’s Russ Research Center in Beavercreek, Ohio, near Dayton and AFRL. Additional Russ College faculty, including Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Gerri Botte, and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Jay Wilhelm, also attended; along with alumna Cynthia Calhoun, BSEE ’88, who is a supervisory aerospace engineer at NASA Glenn and a new member of the OHIO Foundation Board of Trustees.

“Ohio University, a proud founding member of the OAI, continues to see value in the partnerships and collaborations that have spun out of our involvement with this organization,” Miller said. “The annual “Evening with the Stars” activities connect us to the most important stakeholders in Ohio’s aerospace and aviation ecosystem,” he said.

In 1992, OAI awarded two Russ College faculty a core research grant in cost estimation. The project grew into a long-term relationship, ongoing with GE: Russ College faculty and students have developed software that GE engineers across the world use to evaluate the cost of designs for jet engines, and gas and wind turbines, months or even years before manufacturing even begins.

“The project has supported seven faculty members and almost 50 undergraduate and graduate students since 2000,” said Dale Masel, chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Irwin, speaking on behalf of the OAI at the event, paid tribute to NASA Glenn’s rising engineers.

“These are some of the brightest stars of the NASA Glenn Research Center, working every day to better life on Earth and enhance our understanding of the universe,” Irwin said. “Our NASA colleagues represent so much of what is truly great about our nation: courage, dedication, perseverance, brilliant ideas and solutions.”

Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin (R) attends a breakfast meeting with NASA Administrator Bridenstine and NASA Glenn Director and astronaut Janet Kavandi as part of the
Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin (R) attends a breakfast meeting with NASA Administrator Bridenstine and NASA Glenn Director and astronaut Janet Kavandi as part of the "Evening with the Stars" activities.