Graduate Student Recognized with AIAA Scholarship Award for Aviation

Mike Harwin, a Ph.D. student in the College of Aeronautics, has been awarded the 2022 William T. Piper, Sr. Graduate Award in General Aviation from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). The award is given to a student who is pursuing an advanced degree and research in the field of general aviation. Harwin will receive a $1,000 scholarship and a $500 stipend to AIAA’s annual 2022 Aviation Forum in Chicago, Illinois.

In addition to requiring exemplary grades and work ethic for its recipient, the award also mandated the submission of a personal essay describing how the candidate’s aviation research relates to general aviation. Harwin said his essay was a direct product of working and gaining experience with Debbie Carstens, graduate program chair and professor, aviation human factors, in various research projects for the Federal Aviation Administration pertaining to the submission of PIREPS, or Pilot Reports.

The award also required the submission of a five-page research plan that included the following: Problem Statement, Research Objectives, Proposed Research, Plan for Execution, Preliminary Results (if any) or Expected Results. Harwin said he used his dissertation as his research plan and that without the help of his dissertation committee (Carstens, Michael Gallo, Tom Marcinkowski and Victoria Dunbar), he would not have been successful in securing this award.

“This award shows the school’s commitment to providing our students with the best and most comprehensive education possible,” Carstens said.

The scholarship is named after the William Piper, who founded Piper Aircraft in 1937 and led the development of its iconic Piper Cub, the small, maneuverable and relatively inexpensive airplane that made flying accessible to the masses.

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