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Message from the department head

Matthew M. MenchWelcome to the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering (MABE) website. I am glad you are taking a look around. Whether you are a prospective student, alumni, or visitor, there is a lot going on these days at UT. MABE consists of three distinct accredited programs, and also includes the UT Space Institute (UTSI) in Tullahoma. Knoxville is a wonderful place, full of growth and opportunity, great weather, friendly people, outdoor activities in the Smokies, and some of the most energized and connected alumni in the country. The Tullahoma location boasts proximity to Nashville – one of the most popular cities in the US. In a 2011 Brookings Institute report, Knoxville ranked #1 in rate of green jobs growth and #3 in the country in number of clean-tech jobs. Students and faculty also have many unique opportunities to work with Oak Ridge National Labs (ORNL), one of the premier national labs in the country. Many of our graduates go on to have careers at ORNL.

In case you do not yet know, the University of Tennessee is on a journey to become a Top-25 ranked public institution, and the College of Engineering is leading the way. Now is a great time to become a part of our department’s family, as new people are joining us and activities are happening everywhere you look. In the past four years, we have added 24 new faculty, with two more hires in MABE approved for 2015–2016. The recent growth has included MABE’s first and second Governor’s Chairs, Suresh Babu and Uday Vaidya, who lead a thrust group in advanced manufacturing, which is teamed up with ORNL’s manufacturing demonstration facility. Vaidya is CTO of the newly announced 259 million IACME.

Our department is now home to seven winners of the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award and has increased research expenditures by nearly 300 percent per faculty in the last decade. The Institute of Biomedical Engineering (iBME) was established in Spring 2013 and provides a focal point for BME activities at the university and medical center at a time of explosive growth in the field.

If you are a potential graduate student, now is a great time to consider joining the department. With so many new faculty and facilities, and a top national laboratory down the road, opportunities abound to pursue cutting-edge research in interesting areas such as energy storage, bio-inspired propulsion, human-robot interaction, and much more. Our alumni are employed in top positions throughout the world in academia, industry, and national labs. I invite you to explore our faculty webpages and research programs and get in touch with people working in areas of interest to you.

If you are a potential undergraduate student or parent looking at the MABE department, the growth isn’t just in research activities. We are committed to enhancing the undergraduate education and future job opportunities for our students. In my opinion, there is no better place for an undergraduate engineering education than at a high-quality state school. The atmosphere is energetic, and there are numerous opportunities to become involved in student organizations, work in research with faculty or at ORNL, work on a co-op assignment almost anywhere the world, or carve your own unique path.

All of our recently hired faculty bring with them cutting-edge technology, an array of new course-offerings in high growth areas, such as advanced manufacturing and vehicle electrification, and more opportunities for undergraduates to work in a laboratory environment. To maintain lower class sizes and a focus on the student learning environment, MABE has added three lecturers and an Eastman Professor of Practice in charge of CAD/CAE education. These faculty are educational thought leaders who specialize in delivering a high-quality, modern education to our undergraduates.

Undergraduates are trained in a new Advanced Prototyping Laboratory, equipped with computational engineering software and hardware, including 3-D printers and other state-of-the-art equipment. Senior design projects with industrial sponsorships from leaders such as Boeing, NIH, NASA, DOE, DENSO, and many others help prepare our students for the “real world” and establish job pipelines. Like our graduate program, our undergraduate alumni are employed in top positions all over the world in academia, industry, and national labs.

Thanks again for looking at the MABE department, and Go Vols!

Matthew Mench

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