By Colleen Carow and Alivia Nuzzo
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has established the Dr. James Rankin Digital Avionics Scholarship to recognize contributions the Ohio University Russ College of Engineering and Technology's associate dean for research, graduate studies and planning has made to the organization.
Rankin served from 2004 to 2008 as chair of the AIAA's digital avionics technical committee, which promotes the development and advancement of digital avionics. The committee hosts two technical conferences, offers continuing education opportunities for industry partners and supports workforce development through university outreach.
The $2,000 scholarship is intended for U.S. college students studying engineering or science areas related to aeronautics or aerospace. Students will be selected based on scholarship, career goals and recommendations. Established with funds from the digital avionics technical committee, the renewable scholarship will be maintained by the AIAA foundation, which awards 30 undergraduate scholarships a year.
Rankin, who served as interim vice president for research at Ohio University from 2006 to 2008, has nearly 30 years of experience in avionics research and design in both academic and industrial positions. He joined the university's Avionics Engineering Center as director in 1997 and has helped lead numerous NASA and Federal Aviation Administration grants and contracts.
"I was overwhelmed to have a scholarship named in my honor," Rankin said. "It's very gratifying to know that aeronautics and education, which are both interests of mine, will benefit from this scholarship for undergraduate students."
Rankin previously chaired the Department of Electrical Engineering at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. He holds aircraft single-engine, multi-engine and instrument ratings, is an associate fellow of AIAA and holds membership in several engineering and aviation organizations.
He earned a master's degree and doctorate in electrical engineering, with emphasis in control systems, from Iowa State University. His holds a bachelor's degree from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
AIAA is the largest professional society devoted to progress in engineering and science in aviation, space and defense. With professional and student branches, AIAA has more than 31,000 members.