Aerospace engineering faculty and alumni recognized by AIAA Greater Huntsville Section leadership

Published: Jan 23, 2024 1:00 PM

By Dustin Duncan

The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering was well-represented at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Greater Huntsville Section Associate Fellow Recognition Dinner on Dec. 18.

One Auburn engineering alumnus was inducted into the 2024 class of Associate Fellows, and one faculty member was recognized for making the 2023 class. Additionally, two faculty members were acknowledged at the dinner for their national recognitions earlier in the year.

Imon Chakraborty, assistant professor in aerospace engineering, was recognized for his election to the 2023 class of Associate Fellows.

two men poses for photo with one man holding award.
Imon Chakraborty (left) receives his 2023 Associate Fellow recognition from Joe Majdalani.

Chakraborty, the author/co-author of more than 62 conference papers and 19 peer-reviewed journal articles, is especially proud of two research projects — one funded by the NASA Langley Research Center under the Transformational Tools and Technologies (T3) Project and the other by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“It is an honor to have been elected an Associate Fellow of the AIAA,” Chakraborty said. “The AIAA has played a vital role in my development as a student, a researcher, and a faculty member. It means a lot to me that my research, as well as my service to the AIAA, have been recognized in this manner, both at the national and local levels by the Greater Huntsville Section.”

The grade of associate fellow recognizes persons “who have accomplished or been in charge of important engineering or scientific work, or who have done original work of outstanding merit, or who have otherwise made outstanding contributions to the arts, sciences, or technology of aeronautics or astronautics.” Associate fellows comprise just one of every 150 voting members within the organization.

Among the 2024 class of Associate Fellows, Michael Patterson, ’10 aerospace engineering, is the lead technologist in the Aeronautics Systems Analysis Branch at NASA Langley Research Center. Auburn alumnus David Sharp was also inducted into the 2024 class. Sharp graduated from the School of Industrial and Graphic Design in 1985. He currently works for Jacobs Space Exploration Group.

Two men posing for a photo with one man holding award
Michael Patterson, ’10, aerospace engineering (right) holds award for being inducted into the 2024 class of Associate Fellows. Joe Majdalani (left) presented him with the award.

Roy Hartfield, Walt and Virginia Woltosz Professor of Aerospace Engineering, was also honored by the Huntsville chapter for winning the 2023 AIAA Aerodynamics Award in June. The award is presented for meritorious achievement in applied aerodynamics, recognizing notable contributions in developing, applying and evaluating aerodynamic concepts and methods.


two men poses for photo with one man holding award.
Roy Hartfield (center) receives recognition for winning the AIAA Aerodynamics Award in June with Bob Tramel, GHS chair (right) and Joe Majdalani (left).

“It is a privilege to contribute to Auburn’s leadership and support of the considerable aerospace industry in Alabama amongst such distinguished company,” Hartfield said. “The recognition by our national professional organization of the work that my research partners, Dr. Vivek Ahuja, the late Dr. John Burkhalter, our many students and I have done to advance the state of the art for early applied aerodynamic analysis methods and FlightStream is most gratifying.”

Joe Majdalani, the Hugh and Loeda Francis Chair of Excellence in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, was also honored for recently delivering the 2023 von Kármán Lecture in Astronautics, a prestigious lectureship hosted by AIAA in October. This plenary, often given by Nobel prize laureates, National Academy of Engineering members, and AIAA Fellows, is named after Theodore von Kármán, a world-renowned authority in aeronautics and astronautics. In 1932, von Kármán created the U.S. Institute for Aeronautical Sciences, which later merged with the American Rocket Society to form the AIAA.

 two men poses for photo with one man holding award.
Joe Majdalani, (left) received recognition for delivering the von Kármán Lecture in Astronautics in October with Bob Tramel, GHS chair (right).

“I am truly humbled to have been selected to deliver this historic lecture,” Majdalani said. “None of the Kármán-related work that we showcased would have been possible were it not for the support from an amazing team of researchers, especially from the late Dr. Lijun Xuan, who stands behind this recognition. I am also indebted to Dr. Kurt A. Polzin of NASA Marshall for assembling the VKL package and serving as my nominator.”

Brian Thurow, chair of the Department of Aerospace Engineering, said the AIAA is the premier professional society for aerospace engineers and plays an important role in the careers of Auburn faculty and alums.

“I am glad to see the AIAA Greater Huntsville Section recognizing the accomplishments of AIAA members in our area and even more pleased to see several Auburn faculty and alumni represented in this group,” Thurow said. “This is a testament to the hard work of these individuals and representative of the overall impact that Auburn Engineering is having on the aerospace engineering profession.”

The evening ceremony was kicked off by a keynote presentation from Todd May, ’90 materials engineering, former NASA Marshall site director. Other attendees from Auburn included Jeff W. Haars, ’85 electrical engineering, Jacobs Space Exploration Group vice president and general manager, Andrew S. Keys, ’88 and ’90 electrical engineering, Systems Space area lead, G. Alan Lowrey, ’78 and ’80, aerospace engineering, Jacobs Space Exploration Group senior systems and integration engineer, and Lisa Mitchell, ’90 computer science, Jacobs Deputy department manager.

Media Contact: Dustin Duncan ,, 334-844-2326
several people posing for photo in two rows

Front row, Left to right: Mike Patterson, Joe Majdalani, Imon Chakraborty, David Sharp, Roy Hartfield and Alan Lowrey. Second row: Lisa Mitchell, Todd May, Andrew Keys (AIAA GHS Vice-Chair) and Jeff Haars.

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