The San Fernando Valley Engineers’ Council honored several members of the Department of Astronautical Engineering (ASTE) at their annual awards banquet, held on Feb. 25 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City, Calif.
Each year, the Engineers’ Council recognizes outstanding contributions made by individuals in the engineering community, including those in the fields of education and public service. This year, approximately 600 guests attended the event, including leaders from the aerospace industry, government, and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), as well as academics from major universities in Southern California. Proceeds from the banquet are used to fund scholarships, mentor programs and math and science educational enrichment programs.
Award winners include Azad M. Madni, professor of astronautics and technical director of the Systems Architecting and Engineering Program (SAE). Madni received the John J. Guarrera Engineering Educator of the Year Award. He was nominated by Dean Yannis C. Yortsos.
This award is given in recognition of a professor’s significant achievements and involvement with students’ learning and research, as well as the application of math and science to solve problems in engineering design or theory.
“It means a lot to me,” Madni said. “I have an abiding commitment to our students in the Viterbi School. I experiment with different teaching methods and technologies that help make their learning experience rewarding and memorable, and I am mindful of the fact that today’s learners are quite different from what they were a decade ago.”
The Rocket Propulsion Laboratory (RPL) also took home an award from the Engineers’ Council. Founded by Professors of Astronautics Daniel Erwin, Joseph Kunc and Mike Gruntman, this project received the Distinguished Engineering Project Achievement Award, nominated by Madni. The award is given to those who have developed an outstanding engineering project within the past three years. Carter Allen, a senior astronautical engineering student and chief engineer of RPL, joined the team’s founders at the banquet.
To celebrate their achievements, as well as other recent awards from the Orange County Engineering Council (OCEC), the department hosted a luncheon on March 7 for their faculty, students and staff.
“It’s in recognition of our department,” Madni said. “The ASTE department is a small department of independent thinkers that are united by a shared vision of education in the 21st century. The fact that we received multiple awards reflects positively on both our faculty and students.”