AME Alumnus Named AIAA Fellow

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) recently selected the Class of 2016 AIAA Fellows and Honorary Fellows. This group of Fellows and Honorary Fellows represents the best of the aerospace community, as well as those who have contributed and advanced the aerospace industry. AME alumnus Brian Argrow, Ph.D., was selected as a 2016 AIAA Fellow.

Dr. Argrow graduated from AME with his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 1983, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1986 and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering in 1989. During his time as a student, he worked closely with Dr. George Emanuel and Dr. Maurice Rasmussen. Dr. Argrow still remains in close contact with Dr. Emanuel today. While pursuing his M.S., Dr. Argrow focused his research on the design of supersonic minimum-length nozzles (MLN) and its application ranged from rocket and scramjet engines to gasdynamics lasers. During his doctoral studies, his research concentrated on the verification and analysis of the MLN flow field. After he completed his Ph.D., Dr. Argrow worked at AME as an Assistant Professor from 1989 to 1992.

In 1992, he move to Boulder to begin his career at the University of Colorado (UC). Dr. Argrow is now a Professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, Director of the UC’s Integrated Remote and In-Situ Sensing Program and founding director emeritus of the Research Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV).

Professor Argrow’s research interests range from small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) design and airspace integration to satellite aerodynamics, sonic boom, and engineering education. In the mid-1990s, he led supersonic wind tunnel tests at the NASA Langley Research Center that were the first to verify the method of osculating cones for supersonic waverider design. In 2000, Dr. Argrow’s research team created the first of its kind shock tube to create uniform static initial conditions near 800°F to explore non-classical dense gas dynamics. In 2010 he led the first UAS team to intercept a supercell thunderstorm as part of the second Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX-2), the largest project ever organized to understand tornadoes. The technologies developed by Professor Argrow’s VORTEX-2 research group led to the formation of two companies, UASUSA, a manufacturer of small UAS, and Black Swift Technologies, a company created by RECUV Ph.D. graduates to manufacture autopilots and networked sensing/communications solutions.

Along with Dr. Argrow’s recent honor of being named an AIAA Fellow, he has received several teaching and education awards including the W.M. Keck Foundation Award for Excellence in Engineering Education and is a CU President’s Teaching Scholar, as well as a Fellow of the CU Center for STEM Learning. In 2007, he served as co-chair of the first Symposium for Civilian Applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and since 2008 he has chaired workshops and moderated several panels on research directions for the integration of UAS into the National Airspace System. Dr. Argrow is chair-emeritus of the AIAA Unmanned Systems Program Committee (USPC). During his tenure as chair, he led the USPC to expand its focus to include a technically informed discussion of airspace integration policy and developed a formal partnership with the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI). He then organized and chaired the first major joint AIAA/AUVSI event, the second Workshop on Civilian Applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2014 Conference in May 2014.

In 2014, Dr. Argrow completed a semester sabbatical at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Severe Storms Laboratory at the National Weather Center in Norman, where he is continuing to collaborate with severe-storms researchers to develop new capabilities for using small UAS for in-situ and remote data collection to advance severe weather forecasting and reduce warning times.

Lastly, Dr. Argrow leaves current AME students with some advice, “I hope that you understand that what you ultimately get out of your education is directly proportional to what you put into it in terms of hard work, perseverance, and the recognition that learning is both a personal responsibility and a life-long commitment.”

The Dave and Susan Bert Team Room at AME

In the spring of 2015, Dave and Susan Bert made a generous donation to the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering for the creation and renovation of a graduate student team room in the Engineering Laboratory. Upon completion of the renovation, the team room was named The Dave and Susan Bert Team Room. An official unveiling and ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Monday, March 7, 2016 with Dave Bert, members of the Graduate Student Community, AME faculty and AME staff in attendance.

DSC_4637The Dave and Susan Bert Team Room was completely renovated from top to bottom with new carpeting, tables, glass boards, and much more. The room was created as a multipurpose space for AME graduate students for group meetings, presentations, study groups, a lounge, and much more.

The Leadership Team of AME’s Graduate Student Community worked together to design and create The Dave and Susan Bert Team Room. Jelena Milisavljevic led the graduate students in coordination of the team room with fellow GSC peers, including Jackson Autrey, Arun Balakrishnan, Luke N. Balmer, Jawanza N. Bassue, Amber L. Kapoor, Anand Balu Nellippallil, Oluwaseyi T. Ogunsola, Stewart E. Ohler, Mahyar Pourghasemi, Maryam Sabeghi, and Mortaza Saeidi. In addition to the graduate students, M. Cengiz Altan, AME Director; Farrokh Mistree, GSC Faculty Mentor; Melissa Foster, Danielle Geier, Debbie Mattax, Billy Mays, Rebecca Norris, Kate O’Brien-Hamoush, and Greg Williams, AME Staff; assisted with the renovation.


The Bert family is one of loyal distinction to AME. Dave Bert is the son of the late Dr. Charles W. Bert, who served as a faculty member at AME for more than 40 years and also served two terms for a combined 11 years as AME Director. In addition to Dr. Bert’s legacy at AME, Dave Bert and his family continue to leave their mark. Dave is the Vice President of Drilling for Chesapeake Energy Corporation. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from OU AME in 1985. Dave has been a member of AME’s Board of Advisors since 2003 and has also served as Chair. He also serves as a member of the Gallogly College of Engineering Advisory Board. In 2012, Dave was inducted into the University of Oklahoma Gallogly College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society.


Dave and Susan Bert have been married for over 25 years. They have two daughters, Bailey and Brianna. The Bert family resides in Edmond. Bailey attends the University of Arkansas and plays the piccolo in the Razorback Marching Band. Brianna and Susan play competitive tennis and enjoy volunteering. Dave enjoys reading, civic and sporting activities. The family enjoys watching Oklahoma City Thunder basketball games together, church activities, and traveling.


The AME Graduate Student Community, as well as its faculty and staff, would like to thank Dave and Susan Bert for their generous donation! Because of donors like you, AME will continue to provide the best educational experience for our students!

Alumni Spotlight with Devin Pauley

Devin Pauley, a native of Forest Park, Oklahoma, began his time at the University of Oklahoma in 1998 pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. The reason he chose to study mechanical engineering was due to his love for cars.

Devin (2)

When Devin was five years old, he visited his dad, a mechanic of 15 years, at work. Like many children, Devin asked his father how he could be just like him one day. His dad told him that he shouldn’t be the one repairing cars, but rather he should be the one designing them. In the third grade, Devin’s school was hosting a show and tell. This show and tell was special in that students had to identify an occupation they wanted to be when they grew up. Still with the automotive industry in mind, he asked his mom what profession was responsible for designing cars. His mom then took him to the library to research the subject. They concluded the majority of automotive designers were mechanical engineers. Devin was sold on the idea of automotive design, so he decided right then he wanted to become a mechanical engineer.

“Imagine my surprise when I’m a freshmen at OU in 1998, and I am standing outside of Felgar Hall,” Devin said. “I saw a sign that said, ‘Want to design cars? Free pizza!’ After that, I was hooked.”

Devin (pictured right) and teammate working on the Sooner Racing Team car in 2001.

Devin (pictured right) and teammate working on the Sooner Racing Team car in 2001.

Devin joined the Sooner Racing Team (SRT), OU’s Formula SAE international competition team. He held various positions on the team including managing its engine systems, driveline integration and brake system leader and president. Under his leadership, SRT won multiple awards, including first place in the Continental Teves Brake Systems category.

Sooner Racing Team in 2001

Sooner Racing Team at competition in 2001.

Throughout college, Devin interned in the vehicle industry, but with graduation quickly approaching in May 2004, he was unable to break into the automotive design or racing industry like he had hoped. Devin attended a career fair in Dallas where he spoke with Motorola representatives about designing cell phones.

“I thought to myself, working in technology could be temporary. I will do this for a few years and then transition into automotive, but I ended up really loving it,” said Devin.

Devin quickly made his mark in the technology industry. While working for Motorola, Sony Ericsson, BlackBerry and Amazon, he has issued four patents, developed and shipped the BlackBerry Storm 2, and developed and shipped the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. In February 2014, Devin began working at the motherland of all technology companies, Apple. As an Engineering Program Manager, he was behind the development and launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus silicone cases. Devin’s latest project at Apple was the release of the iPhone 6S charge battery case.

“The charge battery case has deep iOS integration, so it will show customers real time how much battery is left in the case,” said Devin. “This is the only charge case in the world that can do this.”

Devin is now working on embedded keyboards for future Mac products.

“The thing I love about technology is the progress of innovation, as well as the pace. Every year, you strive to raise the bar and shift the paradigm,” said Devin. “The customer expects a certain level of standard, so we want to shatter it, rebuild it and exceed expectations. At Apple, it’s not magical how we do it. It is a very organic process starting with the customer and a problem we are trying to solve.”

Devin (1)Because of his successful career, Devin is a two-time recipient of the BRAVO! Award from Motorola, received the University of Oklahoma Regents Alumni Award and was an honoree of the 40 Under 40: Tech Diversity in Silicon Valley Award. He has given Technology Talks at the University of California at Berkley, the University of California and his alma mater, the University of Oklahoma.

Devin said he had a wonderful experience that he wouldn’t trade for the world during his education at AME, leaving current students with some valuable advice: “Practical design and practical experience are everything. Whether that is achieved through SRT, other student teams or other exercises that allow you to make the transition from theory to practical, it’s critical,” said Devin. “It is not always just about the GPA. It’s about the combination of not only knowing the theory but executing it, as well. When an employer looks at your credentials and realizes they do not have to start from scratch, it’s like gold on a résumé.”

AME Board of Advisors Welcomes New Members

At the fall 2015 School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Board of Advisors’ meeting, Michelle Coppedge and Monica Browning Mitchell were first-time attendees as they joined AME Board of Advisors. As new members, Michelle and Monica provided valuable input and a fresh outlook during the bi-annual meeting.

Meet Michelle

Coppedge WebMichelle Coppedge is an AME alumna graduating with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering in 1988. She then attended Oklahoma City University where she earned her Master of Business Administration in 1991. Lastly, Michelle completed her Master of Science in industrial engineering at Purdue University in 1995.

Ms. Coppedge has 25 years of experience working as an engineer and overseeing engineers in both private industry and government. She worked 14 years at AT&T/Lucent Technologies, serving as the Director of Engineering, before moving to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Michelle currently serves as the Center Director for FAA’s Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (MMAC). The MMAC is the second largest contingent of FAA employees outside of Washington, DC, employing 6,300 federal and contract employees, as well as hosting/training around 1,000 Air Traffic Control students.

Michelle was anxious to join the AME BoA. “I am passionate about engineering, the University of Oklahoma and investing in the future of young students that want to grow and develop,” Michelle said. “I hope to add more perspective from the aerospace industry to the board discussions.”

Meet Monica

Monica WebMonica Mitchell Browning is an alumna from the University of Oklahoma earning a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering in 1991 and a Master of Business Administration in 1994.

Ms. Mitchell has worked at AT&T since 1994. She has served in a variety of roles including Manager of Network Operations, Manager of Customer Service, Manager of RF Engineering, Manager of Switch Translations, Manager of Regional Network Operations Center, Director of Customer Care Strategy and Director of IT Mediation. Monica is currently the AT&T Executive Director of Technology. She also serves on two non-profit boards affiliated with the Air Force ROTC and the Air Force Association.

Because Monica works in the technology industry, her career and experience at AT&T along with the company’s relationship with OU has led her to join the AME BoA. “I love OU. I love mentoring students. AT&T believes that we have to partner with our local universities to increase interest in STEM programs,” Monica said. “They have encouraged us to spend time on activities like this board and to share with you the trends that we are seeing so that you can help students learn the skills that we need to see in industry.”

AME would like to welcome Michelle and Monica to the team! We thank you for your time and service to our students and our school.

AME Alumnus Featured in NSBE Magazine

Kayode S. Ifabiyi (pictured far right) graduated from the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering in May 2015 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. Ifabiyi now works as an Aerospace Engineer at Boeing in Seattle, Washington. He was recently featured on the cover of the National Society of Black Engineers Magazine. Click here to check out the article.

NSBE Magazine Cover

AME Board of Advisors hold 2015 Fall Meeting

The School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Board of Advisors attended their annual fall meeting on Friday, November 6, 2015. The BOA had a busy day with a full agenda. They reviewed the school’s recent accomplishments and made plans for future endeavors. Tommy Lear, Chair of the BOA, led the discussions throughout the day. Lastly, Monica Mitchell and Michelle Coppedge, two new members of the BOA, were in attendance providing valuable input and a fresh outlook. Thank you to all who attended. We look forward to seeing you in the spring!

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Dream Course Lecture Series Welcomes Devin Pauley


devin_pauleyPlease join us for this week’s User Experience Design Presidential Dream Course Lecture with Devin Pauley. Mr. Pauley currently works at Apple and is a former senior product design engineer for Amazon. He received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2004 from the University of Oklahoma. The seminar is titled Immersing Users in Products. The seminar is Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 9:00am in the Hitachi Conference Room, 214 Felgar Hall. The lecture is open to the public.

Devin Pauley is a current Apple employee and former senior product design engineer for Amazon. Pauley regularly meets with engineering students and faculty on campuses to share his stories on designing cell phones, e-readers and ecosystem products, and to offer advice and encouragement on career advancement. Pauley received his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering in 2004 from the University of Oklahoma.

Pauley holds three patents and is a two-time recipient of the BRAVO! Award from Motorola, where he worked from 2004 to 2008 as a product design mechanical engineer. He also is the engineering program manager behind the development and launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus silicone cases.

Pauley received his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering in 2004 from the University of Oklahoma. While pursuing his studies at OU, Pauley was involved in several leadership roles with the Sooner Racing Team, a Formula SAE international student-engineering competition team. His roles on the team ranged from managing its engine systems, driveline integration and brake system leader to president. Under his leadership, the team won multiple awards, including a first-place finish in the Continental Teves Brake Systems category. Also while at OU, Pauley was active in Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the National Society of Black Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers. Since 2009, Pauley has served on the OU College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board on Diversity.

For more information about Mr. Pauley or the User Experience Design Presidential Dream Course Lecture Series, please click here.

For accommodations on the basis of disability, please contact Danielle Geier (405) 325-1715 or

AME Student Career Talks

On the evenings of September 1st and 2nd, 2015, Dave Bert, AME Board of Advisor member, met with AME’s undergraduate and graduate students in the Engineering Practice Facility. On September 1st, Mr. Bert spoke with freshmen, sophomores and juniors about about résumé building, the importance of internships and how to choose elective courses. On September 2nd, Mr. Bert spoke with seniors and graduate students regarding important strategies to securing full-time employment including the interview process and résumés. Students were engaged throughout the evening by asking questions, leading discussion and taking notes.


Dave Bert is the Vice President of Drilling at Chesapeake Energy Corporation in Oklahoma City. He is a proven oil and gas executive with significant expertise in drilling, completion, field development, operations management and engineering. Dave has been instrumental in Chesapeake’s achievement of industry-leading unconventional horizontal drilling, operational efficiency and production growth. He graduated with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma, an M.S. degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Southern California and is a licensed professional engineer. Dave was inducted into the University of Oklahoma Gallogly College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society. He serves as a member of the Gallogly College of Engineering Advisory Board and the AME Board of Advisors.


AME Alumni Spotlight: Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D.

Choudhuri2Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D., was recently awarded a $5 million grant from NASA to develop the next generation of methane-based rocket engines. These said rocket engines will be used for in-space propulsion, ascent and descent engines for Mars and lunar landers. The advancement of the methane rocket engines is identified as a critically enabling technology in the NASA Space Technology Roadmap.

Choudhuri is a graduate of the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. He received degrees in mechanical engineering graduating in 1997 with his M.S. and 2000 with his Ph.D. working under mentorship of AME Professor S.R. Gollahalli, Ph.D. Choudhuri began working at The University of Texas at El Paso in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 2001 where he is the chair and professor of the department and Mr. and Mrs. MacIntosh Murchison Chair II in Engineering. He is also the Director of the Center for Space Exploration Technology Research (cSETR).

“Among nearly 100 graduate students I have mentored, Ahsan certainly ranks very high,” said Gollahalli. “His motivation, focus, energy level and drive to succeed were unparalleled.”

With Choudhuri’s primary research efforts focused on propulsion technologies for next generation space missions and energy technologies for a low carbon future, Choudhuri has a broad range of federal and industry funded projects. Most of his research is conducted in the cSETR including the latest project funded by NASA for the development of methane-based rocket engines.

When Choudhuri first began working at UTEP, there was not a space engineering based program nor was there such research being conducted. Under his direction, the cSETR is now one of the top research groups in the nation focused on space exploration and technology. The cSETR has formed partnerships with organizations such as NASA Johnson Space Center, Marshall Space Flight Center and Glenn Research Center, just to name a few.

“Over the last five years, UTEP rocket propulsion research infrastructure has grown exponentially,” Choudhuri said. “This grant attests to the national preeminence of cSETR’s research and education programs. There is already a significant interest to utilize this region for commercial space exploration purposes, and we are placing ourselves as the strategic lead for propulsion research capabilities in the area.”

Each year the cSETR focuses on training over 60 undergraduate and graduate students in space and energy engineering education and research. Following graduation, many of the students begin their careers at NASA Johnson Space Center or other cSETR partners.

As an alumni, Choudhuri says his time at AME played a role in his successful career.

“OU played a big part in my career thus far. If I didn’t have a chance to work under Dr. Gollahalli’s mentorship, none of this would have been possible,” Choudhuri said. “I received a high quality education at AME as well as high quality research training working in Dr. Gollahalli’s Combustion and Flame Dynamics Lab.”

As for Choudhuri’s future goals, he hopes to continue his work and research in the cSETR by making changes for future generations in the country to continue advancements in space technology while growing diversity in the workforce.

Lastly, Choudhuri leaves some advice for our current undergraduate and graduate students beginning their careers.

“You can go where you want to go, as long as you aspire to be there,” Choudhuri said. “Aspirations combined with hard work and commitment will get you there.”