Page 22 - Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering Fall 2019 Magazine
P. 22

Faculty and Alumni News
Thole honored for technical contributions commitment to diversity in aerospace
By Erin Cassidy Hendrick
Karen A Thole distinguished professor and head of of of the Department of of of Mechanical Engineering at at at Penn State has been awarded the the 2019 Air Breathing Propulsion Award from the the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Established in in in in 1975 the annual award is is is presented to to an an individual for sustained meritorious accomplishments in in in in in the the arts sciences and technology of air breathing propulsion systems AIAA the the world’s largest aerospace
technical society brings together industry academia and and and government to to advance engineering and and and science in in in in in aviation space
and and and defense Throughout her career Thole has made significant technical contributions in in in in in in in pioneering new cooling strategies for for airfoils
in in in in in in in gas turbine engines which allows for for higher operating temperatures and ultimately reduced fuel consumption She has also continually developed new programs to promote diversity and inclusion in in in in in engineering Her technical contributions include founding the Steady Thermal Aero Research Turbine (START) Lab at at Penn State in in in in 2012
through a a a a a a a a a a a a partnership with the the Department of Energy and Pratt
& Whitney the the United Technologies Corporation aerospace
manufacturing subsidiary The unique testing facility currently houses a a a a a a a a a a a proprietary turbine design to perform heat transfer studies instrumentation development and the integration of additive manufacturing in in in in in in in turbine research These efforts directly impact the aerospace
industry’s goals aimed at improving designs and efficiency for turbines used in in in aircraft propulsion She joined Penn State in in in in in in in 2006 to lead mechanical engineering placing a a a a a a a a a a a a a particular emphasis on increasing the the the number of women and and other underrepresented groups in in in in in the the the the department and and ultimately the the industry at at large To support this goal Thole has actively developed numerous programs with several professional societies to promote a a a a a a a a a a more diverse workforce Her work work in in in in in in this area has included founding an an an industry-sponsored dinner for for for for women women at at an an an annual turbine conference advocating for for for for women women women leaders for for for for society positions actively nominating women women for for for awards and personally mentoring early career engineers “I am honored by this recognition from the AIAA and and my my colleagues who supported my my nomination My students and and I I I remain committed to pushing forward the technology powering our air breathing propulsion systems while supporting a a a a a a a diverse and inclusive workforce ” Thole said Thole received the the the award during the the the AIAA Excellence in in Aerospace Awards Luncheon on on Aug 21 at the the the JW Marriott in in in Indianapolis Indiana Indiana Four ME professors promoted to associate professor professor 22
Reuben Kraft associate professor of of mechanical and biomedical engineering Stephen Lynch Shuman Family Early Career Professor of of Mechanical Engineering Jacqueline O’Connor associate professor of of mechanical engineering Tak-Sing Wong Wormley Early Career Professor of of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering 

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