Sullivan wins prestigious aerospace association award

June 19, 2019

Aerospace engineering professor Rani Sullivan has been chosen as the 2019 recipient of the Hermann Oberth Award by the Greater Huntsville Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Rani Sullivan receives Oberth Award

Rani Sullivan receives the Hermann Oberth Award. Presenting the award are (left) Major Alexander Jehle, Chairman of the AIAA Greater Huntsville Section and Dr. Joseph Majdalani, Director of Honors and Awards for the AIAA Greater Huntsville Section.

The award is presented each year to a section member in recognition of outstanding individual scientific achievement or for the promotion and advancement of the aeronautical sciences. The award is named in honor of Hermann Oberth, who is considered one of the founders of modern rocketry and space travel.

“I am honored and delighted to receive The Hermann Oberth Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Greater Huntsville Section,” Sullivan said. “Recognition such as this provides both inspiration and motivation, particularly when I recognize the very distinguished and acclaimed previous recipients of this award. Receiving this honor is a testimony to the critical resources and support that have been provided by Mississippi State throughout my nearly 30 years in the aerospace engineering department. This award certainly reflects the excellence of my research group, the aerospace engineering department and the Bagley College of Engineering.”

Sullivan holds the Richard H. Johnson Endowed Chair in Aerospace Engineering and is the director of the department’s High Performance Composite Materials Laboratory. She recently teamed with aerospace engineering alumna Leeanna Meadows to win the prestigious 2018 George Stephenson Gold Medal, which is awarded for the best original paper published by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Sullivan joined the Bagley College of Engineering faculty in 2005 after earning her Ph.D. from Mississippi State in 2003. She also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MSU, earning her undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering in 1989 and her master’s in engineering mechanics in 1993.

She is the founder and advisor for the Women of Aerospace student organization at Mississippi State. She is also an associate fellow of the AIAA and a member of the AIAA Structures Technical Committee. She is a recipient of the 2014 SAE International Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award and a member of the MSU Bagley College of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

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By: Philip Allison