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Doctoral candidate named Huntsville AIAA Graduate Student of the Year

By Drew Daws

Published: Feb 17, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Alex Jehle, Langston Williams and Joe Majdalani Alex Jehle, Langston Williams and Joe Majdalani

Langston Williams, a doctoral candidate in aerospace engineering, was recently named the 2019 Graduate Student of the Year by the Greater Huntsville Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). 

Williams was nominated for his elegance, dedication and pursuit of academic excellence in regional and national competitions. His research devotes itself to the theoretical and computational modeling of wall-bounded cyclonic flows evolving in hemispherically shaped rocket engines. His work is inspired by the need to characterize the internal flowfield of upper stage vortex engines, particularly, those being developed by Sierra Nevada Corporation for use on the Dream Chaser suborbital vehicle. 

He received his master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Auburn University in 2018. He has served as a math tutor/facilitator for the Engineering Academic Excellence Program and as a teaching assistant for several aerodynamics courses — advanced engineering analysis, aeroacoustics, perturbations, launch vehicle design and aerospace structures — in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. He works under the direction of Joe Majdalani, the Hugh and Loeda Francis Chair of Excellence in the Department of Aerospace Engineering.

His previous honors include the Fritz Medal in Mathematics from Lenoir-Rhyne in 2015, the Engineering Academic Excellence Program fellowship from 2015-19, the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) Regional Conference Engineering Poster Award in 2018, the NSBE Academic Technology Bowl Award in 2018 and the Abe M. Zarem Award for Distinguished Achievement in Astronautics from the AIAA Foundation also in 2018. He also represented the United States at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia.

The Greater Huntsville Section of the AIAA extends over the state of Alabama and the northern half of Mississippi.

“We are very proud of Langston’s achievement,” Majdalani said. “Our local section has a highly competitive selection process and this award is a reflection of Langston’s unwavering commitment to active engineering research, technical mentorship and STEM outreach.”

Media Contact: Austin Phillips, austinp@auburn.edu, 334-844-2444

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