October 27, 2023

group photo of faculty members receiving Navy impact awards
Raghav Mahalingam, Ryan Russell and John-Paul Clarke were recognized with U.S. Navy Impact Influencer Awards at a ceremony held in the Aerospace Engineering Building at The University of Texas at Austin on Oct. 23.

Three faculty members in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics were recognized with U.S. Navy Impact Influencer Awards at a ceremony held in the Aerospace Engineering Building at The University of Texas at Austin on Oct. 23.

Cmdr. Stacey O’Neal, Commanding Officer of the Navy Talent Acquisition Group San Antonio, presented the awards to ASE/EM professors John-Paul Clarke and Ryan Russell, and Raghav Mahalingam, a lecturer in the department. The faculty members were recognized as outstanding educational professionals whose leadership, mentorship and guidance have made a remarkable influence on aerospace engineering senior, Robert Ross-Kirov. They each received an award certificate and a command challenge coin from O’Neal in recognition for their dedication to higher education. 

Ross-Kirov was recently selected into the Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Candidate (NUPOC) Program. Students selected for the program must demonstrate that they possess the qualities of a well-rounded individual through academics, physical fitness and moral character.

Courses that Ross-Kirov took from the faculty members he selected to be honored include:

Clarke: Flight Dynamics

Russell: Spacecraft Dynamics, Applied Orbital Mechanics, Celestial Mechanics

Mahalingam: Low Speed Aerodynamics, Electromechanical Systems, Compressible Flow, Propulsion

photo of Robert Ross-Kirov with U.S. Navy Cmdr. Stacey O’Neil
Aerospace engineering senior Robert Ross-Kirov with U.S. Navy Cmdr. Stacey O’Neal.

“I am genuinely grateful for the invaluable experience I've gained during my time at UT. It has been a privilege to have the opportunity to learn from these three exceptional professors who have had a profound impact on my education,” said Ross-Kirov. “Dr. Clarke, Dr. Russell, and Dr. Mahalingam’s classes have exposed me to a wide range of diverse and fascinating fields of study that have helped me build a robust engineering foundation to tackle complex problems.”

Following graduation, Ross-Kirov, currently a Petty Officer 1st Class, will attend Office Candidate School and commission as a nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy.

About the Faculty

Clarke is a leading expert in aircraft trajectory prediction and optimization, especially as it pertains to the development of flight procedures that reduce the environmental impact of aviation, and in the development and use of stochastic models and optimization algorithms to improve the efficiency and robustness of aircraft, airline, airport and air traffic operations. He holds the Ernest Cockrell, Jr. Memorial Chair in Engineering.

Russell leads the Space Trajectory Computation Lab where his group solves orbital mechanics problems as they relate to space utilization and exploration. His research interests include spaceflight mechanics/astrodynamics; optimal control/optimization /numerical methods; orbit determination; multi-body dynamics; periodic orbits and general orbit stability; general trajectory designs for spacecraft missions; and efficient software implementation. He holds the George & Dawn L. Coleman Centennial Fellowship in Engineering.

Mahalingam holds a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech. In 2004, he co-founded a thermal management startup, Nuventix, which was acquired in 2014. After leaving the startup world in 2016, he shifted his focus to teaching. Since 2016 he has taught courses in Aerodynamics, Propulsion, Design, and Electromechanical Systems at UT. He was the 2017 recipient of the Most Exemplary Faculty Member Award for Aerospace Engineering, presented by the Student Engineering Council and the Cockrell School of Engineering, and the 2019 ASE/EM LUNAR Council Teaching Award.