Alumni Updates

Alumni Updates

Do you have some exciting news you’d like to share? We would love to hear about your recent milestones and accomplishments, including job changes, promotions, awards, marriages, and births.

Alumni updates are published as they are received by the department.

Please email us at and let us know what’s going on so we can share the good news!

Guion “Guy” Bluford (B.S. ’64)
Bluford was elected to the National Aviation Hall of Fame Class of 2019. Read More.

Kiran Govindswamy (M.S. ’92, Ph.D. ’95)
Govindswamy was promoted to vice president-powertrain, vehicle engineering & NVH at FEV North America, Inc.

Judson Rupert (B.S. ’02)
Rupert, principal engineer, piston engineering for Lycoming Engines, was named one of Aircraft Maintenance Technology’s 2018 Next Gen 40 Under 40 Award recipients. Read More.

Donald Thompson (B.S. ’65, Ph.D. ’76)
Thompson, who spent 30 years at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory, working on the acoustics and fluid dynamics of naval vessels, passed away on September 28, 2018. Read More.

Bernard P. Miller (B.S. ’50)
Miller has written the chapter titled “Ranger Missions,” published in the online Encyclopedia of Lunar Science by Springer International Publishing. Miller was manager of the Ranger Project at RCA Astro-Electronics. He retired in 1998 as senior vice president, Lockheed Martin International. Read More.

Guion “Guy” Bluford (B.S. ’64)
Bluford, the first African-American in space, will have his life story captured in a 15-minute film. Read More.

Lawrence Casellini (M.S. ’65)
Caselinni passed away on January 29, 2018. Read More.

Edward A. Starosielec (B.S. ’68)
Starosielec, former vice president of Calspan Corporation, passed away on January 11, 2018. Read More.

James Gilson (B.S. ’04)
Gilson was named Chief of Test for the Sikorsky S-92A helicopter at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. He is based at the based at Sikorsky’s Coatesville, PA, facility.

William McGreehan (B.S. ’70)
McGreehan took a full time role through Belcan, supporting a hypersonic project at Aerojet Rocketdyne in Jupiter, FL.

Paul Weitz (B.S. ’54)
Weitz, a former NASA astronaut, died on October 23, 2017. Weitz commanded the first flight of the space shuttle Challenger in 1983 and also piloted the Skylab, the first U.S. space station, in 1973. He received the Penn State Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award in 1983. Read More.

John Cimbala (B.S. ’79)
Cimbala, professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State, recently published two historical fiction novels. He has also authored or co-authored several textbooks on fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and thermodynamics. Read More.

John Robert (JR) Bell (B.S. ’69)
Bell was inducted into the Ringgold Boosters Hall of Fame. Read More.

Mark Salita (M.S. ’67)
Salita, consultant for Spectral Science, Inc., published a book titled “Memoirs of a Rocket Scientist” which shares his multitude of experiences in the rocket industry. The book is meant to be entertaining and insightful for rocket colleagues and for students or young engineers who want to know how one rocket scientist solved the many technical problems assigned to him.

Peter Kunz (B.S. ’93, M.S. ’96)
Kunz, chief technology officer at Boeing subsidiary Insitu, was named chief engineer at HorizonX, effective July 28, 2017. Kunz will be responsible for shaping all technical strategies and capabilities to support HorizonX.

Jill (Tombasco) Seubert (B.S. ’05)
Seubert received the Recent Alumni Award from the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. Read More.

Greg A. Douglass (B.S. ’00)
Douglass passed away on January 8, 2017. Read More.

Brett Hoffstadt (M.S. ’97)
Hoffstadt was named Vice-President of Drone Pilots Federation, and is an insurance sales representative with Bankers Life and Colonial Penn.

Heather L. Rarick (B.S. ’87)
Rarick was named a 2017 Outstanding Engineering Alumna by the Penn State College of Engineering. Read More.

Guion Bluford (B.S. ’64)
Bluford was featured in an article about the first African-American in Space on Time Warner Cable News. Read More.

Brent Paul (B.S. ’94, M.S. ’96, Ph.D. ’16 ACS)
Paul received his doctorate from Penn State in Acoustics. His thesis was titled "Aeroacoustic computation of cavity tones generated from low Mach number flow, using a preconditioned method." He is employed as a principal engineer for Alion Science and Technology.

David Irizarry (B.S. ’16)
Irizarry began his new job as a systems architect and analysis engineer for Northrop Grumman in Melborune, FL.

Edward M. Manns (B.S. ’87)
Manns was appointed director, standards and strategic technical initiatives for NACE International.

Samuel Venneri (B.S. ’69)
Venneri passed away on Wednesday, November 9, 2016. Read More.

Joe Blazosky (B.S. ’65)
Blazosky has gone from building ships to helping people build their local businesses. Read More.

Jessica Tramaglini (B.S. ’09)
NASA ISS flight controller & instructor, trained an international crew for journey to the International Space Station.

Jeffrey B. Gray (B.S. ’93) retired from the U.S. Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel in October after a 21-year active duty career. Lt Col Gray served as the transition director for Space-Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) at Buckley Air Force Base, CO, where he was responsible for consolidating SBIRS satellite/ground operations.

Seongkyu Lee (Ph.D. ’09) became an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California, Davis, where he will work on aerodynamic and aeroacoustics research.

Jason A. Borrelli (B.S. ’94)
Borrelli was named a new member of Penn State Smeal College of Business’s Institute for Real Estate Studies Advisory Board. Read More.

Peter Phillips (B.S. ’90, M.S. I E ’97)
Phillips received The Aerospace Corporation’s President’s Achievement Award for his outstanding leadership in program execution on several high-priority NASA programs. Read More.

James Moore (B.S. ’60)
Moore was inducted into the Monaca Community Hall of Fame in October 2016.

Michael Genest (B.S. ’79)
Genest was featured in this The Brown Daily Herald article for his work on linking space exploration funding with public interest.

Alan Campbell (B.S. ’09)
Campbell, simulation task leader for Draper, is working on some innovative guidance control software for the Dream Chaser spacecraft which will make cargo deliveries to the International Space Station. Read More.

Robert D. Braun (B.S. ’87)
Braun was named the new dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, effective January 2017. Read More.

Ryan Hedges (B.S. ’10), U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Allen D. Wold (B.S. ’03)
Hedges and Wold graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School as part of Class 149. Maj. Wold also received the Syd Sherby Leadership Award, presented to the student who displays exemplary leadership in the class. Read More.

Col. Regina Sabric (B.S. ’95)
Sabric, a 20-year military veteran and senior pilot, took the helm as the first female commander of the 919th Special Operations Group during a change of command ceremony at Duke Field, FL. Read More.

Tom Briggs (B.S. ’90)
Briggs, air vehicle engineering department head - F-35 ITF at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, won the 2015 Department of the Navy Test and Evaluation Award for Lead Tester. Read More.

Ken Hibbard (B.S. ’86)
Hibbard, principal project systems engineer and deputy program development manager for Civil Space at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, gave a special presentation on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recovery effort to the Penn State Lunar Lion team in April.

Phil Ansell (B.S. ’08)
Ansell, assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was named to the 2016 Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 List for the Science category. Read More.

James Shade (B.S. ’87)
Shade, senior engineer at Belcan Corporation, published his debut fantasy novel, THIEVES OF ISLAR, a coming-of-age story about three siblings facing tragedy, and the meaning of family and friends in a criminal community. His book is available in e-book format for Kindle readers and in softcover on Amazon.

Guion Bluford (B.S. ’64) was mentioned in this North Dallas Gazette article about African-Americans in Space.

Monica Christiansen (M.S. ’14)
Christiansen was promoted to senior engineer in the Aero/Thermal group at AeroSystems/FluiDyne. She is currently working on a project to design and build a wind tunnel at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Greg Scott (B.S. ’99)
Scott, co-founder of Service Robotics & Technologies, was inducted as an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Frederick Kelso (B.S. ’88)
Kelso was promoted to Division Chief for Mission Assurance at the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in Huntsville, AL.

Mike Arata (B.S. ’91)
Arata, director of engineering at United Airlines and Penn State Brandywine advisory board member, was the guest speaker at Penn State Brandywine’s fall 2015 commencement ceremony.



The Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering, established in 1961 and the only aerospace engineering department in Pennsylvania, is consistently recognized as one of the top aerospace engineering departments in the nation, and is also an international leader in aerospace education, research, and engagement. Our undergraduate program is ranked 15th and our graduate programs are ranked 15th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, while one in 25 holders of a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering in the U.S. earned it from Penn State. Our students are consistently among the most highly recruited by industry, government, and graduate schools nationwide.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry. Through an innovative curriculum and world-class instruction that reflects current industry practice and embraces future trends, Penn State Aerospace Engineering graduates emerge as broadly educated, technically sound aerospace engineers who will become future leaders in a critical industry

Department of Aerospace Engineering

229 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2569