dozens of students in blue t-shirts gather around a podium where Dr. Shankar Mahalingam gives a speech
Dean of the College of Engineering, Dr. Shankar Mahalingam, addresses attendees of the second annual UAH Engineering Showcase during E-Week 2023 in the Student Services Building.
Michael Mercier | UAH

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of The University of Alabama System, hosted the second annual UAH Engineering Showcase during Engineers Week 2023, Feb. 19 – 25. Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, EWeek is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of, and interest in, engineering and technology careers.

“The participation of 200-plus UAH engineering students in our 2nd Annual Engineering Showcase made the event extraordinarily successful,” notes Dr. Shankar Mahalingam, dean of the College of Engineering. “They outdid themselves in presenting their projects with enthusiasm, while displaying their technical understanding to our visitors. I was incredibly impressed by our participating freshmen for what they have been able to accomplish in just a month past their first semester at UAH. The event's overall success was only possible through the outstanding community support that we at The University of Alabama in Huntsville are privileged to enjoy.”

Michael Mercier | UAH

At the showcase, students from Senior Design, Student Organizations/Competition Teams and Undergraduate Research presented the status and results of their work to corporate partners and guests through a series of projects and competitions. All eight undergraduate engineering programs offered by UAH were featured as part of this event. Approximately 230 undergraduate engineering students presented 45 projects, 150 community partners representing 50 companies and governmental agencies attended this event.

“I am extremely proud of the students, faculty and staff for their outstanding accomplishments over the past year that have had a significant impact on Alabama, our nation and extending across the globe,” says Dr. Mahalingam.

Activities throughout the week included Engineering Advising Open House, Take a Professor to Lunch, Afternoon Art at Engineering on the Greenway and LEGO Building contests, a competition where students were tasked with building a LEGO bridge to see which bridge could withstand the highest static load. The College of Engineering presented awards to outstanding undergraduate students by program, outstanding graduate students by department, two outstanding junior faculty and one outstanding senior faculty at the 2023 Engineers Week Banquet at the Jackson Center in Huntsville, an event organized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Greater Huntsville Section.

Finally, to cap off E-Week celebrations, the following Engineering highlights from the past year are offered to paint a vivid picture of just a few of the countless ways UAH, the College of Engineering and research centers are working to positively impact the Huntsville community, the state of Alabama and far beyond.


Dr. Moonhyung Jang and Dr. Gang Wang in the Adaptive Structures Laboratory discovered a simple, cost-effective electricity generator. The breakthrough utilizes triboelectric nanogenerators that employ multiple layers of different materials to generate electricity when pressed.

A graduating senior aerospace engineering student is working to develop a micro-aerial vehicle that can fly like a monarch butterfly. For his ingenuity, Thomas Clark won second place in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Regional Student Conferences Region II Undergraduate Category. Clark’s paper competed against more than 170 student projects from all across the Southeast.

Doctoral student Samantha Rawlins won best student paper at the 13th Liquid Propulsion and 12th Spacecraft Propulsion Joint Subcommittee Meeting. Rawlings paper investigates various ways that reliability early in the engineering process can impact a nuclear thermal propulsion engine's design and test program to improve confidence that the engine will operate successfully in space.

Dr. Anu Subramanian, a professor of chemical and materials engineering, is exploring how the effects of low-intensity ultrasound on cartilage regrowth may one day rebuild stronger knees following injury or surgery. Dr. Subramanian’s total NIH research awarded so far in this field is nearly $1.9 million.

Jacob Keese, master’s student in mechanical engineering, won best student paper at the American Nuclear Society’s recent Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space (NETS) conference. Keese’s research involved investigations into a novel concept of nuclear thermal spacecraft propulsion called Centrifugal Nuclear Thermal Propulsion.

Dr. Biswajit Ray, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and his student team have earned a five-year, $650,000 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award to perform research to make future computer solid state drives (SSDs) more resilient, durable and energy-efficient. Dr. Ray also developed a new method of radiation-resistant computer data storage called watermark storage that has direct applications in the nuclear power and space industries.

Dr. Elias Ali, a lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering, is researching an engineered composite material for building or retrofitted construction that could help give occupants extra time to escape a bomb blast or when a fire breaks out.

UAH is leading a collaboration of universities across the nation to develop a cutting-edge nuclear thermal propulsion rocket engine using centrifugal liquid fuel bubble-through technology that could one day be a ticket for NASA to go directly into deep space.


The Space Hardware Club rocketed a payload to a suborbital space and back aboard a Terrier-Orion rocket out of the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia as part of the NASA RockOn and RockSat-C programs. CubeSat propulsion research landed doctoral student Andrew Walsten a DOE Sandia Labs internship to mentor with a Department of Energy physicist. Walsten’s work involves propelling microsatellites and CubeSats using ionized plasma from a micro-electrical engine.

Aerospace engineering undergrad Megan Jordan was selected for UAH’s first Brooke Owens Fellowship. This fellowship serves both as an inspiration and as a career boost to capable young women and gender minorities who aspire to explore the stars. Owens had earlier won the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship for “extraordinary Black students.”

UAH Honors students from the department of aerospace engineering were offered German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE). DAAD RISE internships are opportunities for STEM sophomores and juniors to conduct specialized research in Germany for up to twelve weeks. DAAD RISE interns receive a monthly stipend and travel costs, as well as hands-on research experience that aids future graduate school, fellowship and job applications.

Michael Mercier | UAH

The Space Hardware Club robotic rover team finished third among U.S. teams and sixth overall in a competition at the University Rover Challenge Finals in the desert of southern Utah.

Five UAH engineering students were awarded the nationally competitive Department of Defense Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (DoD SMART) Scholarship. DoD SMART is a scholarship-for-service program in which the DoD provides a full scholarship for recipients to pursue STEM degrees that are focused on research to further the DoD’s mission

Three CanSat teams placed first, second and third in the nation during an international competition in the American Astronautical Society-sponsored aerospace design and production event.

Babak Salarieh, a doctoral student in civil and environmental engineering, was awarded a 2022 American Society of Civil Engineers O.H. Ammann Research Fellowship in Structural Engineering Research to study the effects of climate change on the destruction wrought by hurricanes and how to aid community resilience through mitigation.

Saroj Kumar, a doctoral candidate in mechanical and aerospace engineering received an accolade from the International Astronautical Federation’s 73rd International Astronautical Congress in Paris, France. Kumar’s interactive presentation “Spacecraft Integrated System Model for NTP Powered Planetary Science Missions” was selected as the best IP in Space Technology.

Two undergraduate researchers presented their research on the value of model-based systems engineering (MBSE) to members of the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. Kelly Campo is majoring in industrial and systems engineering and Thomas Teper is majoring in aerospace engineering.

Coastal resiliency researcher Dr. Abdullahi Salman, an assistant professor of civil engineering, was named to the 2022 cohort of Early-Career Research Fellows in the Environmental Protection and Stewardship track by the Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The fellowship includes a $76,000 award.

2023 EWeek honorees include outstanding undergraduate students Sydney Miller, aerospace engineering; Nathaniel Foldenauer, chemical engineering; Jabe Outland civil engineering; Benjamin Curths, computer engineering; Connor Stewart, cybersecurity engineering; Ethan Hoben, electrical engineering; Tamia Neal, industrial and systems engineering; Michael Sorrell, mechanical engineering; outstanding graduate students Muntaseer Bunion, chemical and materials engineering; Amir Zahraniu, civil and environmental engineering; Micah Tseng, electrical and computer engineering; Daniel Colvett, industrial & systems engineering and engineering management; and Saroj Kumar, mechanical and aerospace engineering; outstanding junior faculty Dr. Abdullahi Salman, Dr. Guangsheng Zhang, and outstanding senior faculty Dr. Gabe Xu.


UAH announced the establishment of the Senator Richard Shelby Endowed Chair in Engineering in the College of Engineering. This endowment will allow UAH to recruit exceptional faculty, further prepare tomorrow's leaders and honor a vital public servant. An endowed chair is one of the highest academic accolades a scholarly expert can receive and promotes the highest standard of excellence.

The Gary Donald Endowed Scholarship was established with a $250,000 gift from Avion Solutions to support engineering and science students.

The Janice Hays Smith Electrical Engineering Scholarship was inaugurated with a $210K gift to fund an endowed scholarship for electrical engineering students.

The Mary Makima and Lester M. Ross, Sr. Scholarship in Engineering provides support to graduate engineering students that helps them focus on their research and completing their degrees.

Sangeeta Singhal pledged $1,000,000 to establish the Ashok K. Singhal Endowed Chair in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, named in honor of her late husband, Dr. Ashok K. Singhal. This gift will create the first endowed Chair in the College of Engineering that is endowed by an individual, non-corporate donor.


Alumnus Jeffrey Langhout was honored with the Alumni of Achievement award from the College of Engineering. Langhout is the Director of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center Director, and as such, he is the leader of the largest engineering workforce in Alabama.

Engineering alumnus Robert Green is a senior director for Boeing’s Integrated Air & Missile Defense portfolio, which supports vital defense systems, such as the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3), the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense and Avenger. As a Native American, Green is also an executive champion for the Huntsville chapter of the Boeing Native American Network, an organization that works to bring the diversity of Indigenous cultures to the Boeing team.

Electrical engineering alumna Tia Ferguson was celebrated for her career at NASA, particularly featuring a time when she trekked to the South Pole to retrieve an important NASA balloon experiment.

Engineering alumna Kristin Spencer Spearman was selected as the 2022 Outstanding Young Alumni of Achievement. Spearman is the Vice President of Transmission Planning & Projects for the Tennessee Valley Authority. In this role she leads a group responsible for project planning and execution for one of the largest transmission systems in North America.

Alumna Dr. Stephanie Reitmeier was recognized as the Civilian Employee of the Year by the U.S. Army. Dr. Reitmeier is the Associate Director of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center, Propulsion and Structures, Technology Development Directorate.


Dr. Abdullahi Salman, an assistant professor of civil engineering, was awarded a five-year, $505,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant to research improving overall hurricane and severe weather resilience of coastal communities.

UAH hosted the Girls in Science and Engineering Day. This popular program brings together rising third through fifth grade girls from across North Alabama for STEM activities. Two hundred registrants rotated through four different STEM workshops featuring activities such as propulsion and the principles of flight, robotics, extraction of DNA, making ice cream with liquid nitrogen and using a wind tunnel to demonstrate flight.

UAH’s Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center provided unmanned aircraft systems and technical capabilities to the Cooperative Institute for Research to Operations in Hydrology to support a $360 million university alliance to better predict water-related hazards and manage the nation’s water resources.

A student engineering team designed and deployed an interactive light show for visitors to the Huntsville Botanical Garden. The installation was completed as part of a senior design project.

UAH hosted Tech Trek, an event designed to raise awareness and interest in STEM fields for rising eighth grade girls from across the state of Alabama. A total of 64 girls from 24 Alabama counties participated in the experiential summer camp, led by successful women scientists, engineers and professionals.

A student team headed by Andrew Zelinka, a mechanical engineering senior, placed first in the Boeing New Business Challenge by creating VioClean, a garment and towel sanitizer that uses a new technology that capitalizes on the germicidal properties of UV-C light to reduce bacteria in a towel or garment.


The Propulsion Research Center (PRC) celebrated its 30th anniversary with a banquet and a Propulsion Symposium cookout. Over 75 alumni returned for the weekend’s events, some from as far away as California, Washington state, and Florida. Alumni spoke about how UAH positively impacted their lives and their careers, and many noted the personalized support and encouragement provided.

UAH hosted the 15th annual Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium for leading government officials, industry executives, academia and the aerospace engineering community. The symposium discussed the latest developments and future opportunities and challenges to the future of space exploration, as well as represent a unique opportunity for students and faculty to engage with scientists, engineers and NASA administrators.


Dr. Michael Griffin, former UAH Eminent Scholar and Professor, former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.

Dr. Lisa Watson-Morgan ('94 MSE, Industrial and Systems Engineering, '08 Ph.D., Industrial and Systems Engineering), Program Manager for NASA’s Human Landing System.

Jeffrey Langhout, (’91 M.S. Engineering Management), Director of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Aviation and Missile Center.

Engineering Showcase Gallery


Kristina Hendrix

Elizabeth Gibisch