U-M Aerospace Engineering alumnus and professor at Georgia Tech, Mitchell Walker, has been recognized for his efforts and demonstrated leadership as a member of the AIAA with the 2021 Sustained Service Award. His career with AIAA has been a long one—in fact, he initially joined as a student during his graduate studies at U-M. He has served as the technical Chair of the Electric Propulsion Technical Committee, during which he helped promote other members into leadership positions, fostering productivity within AIAA. His favorite event as Chair of the Electric Propulsion Technical Committee was presenting in front of a panel at the House of Representatives. He delivered the House information on electric propulsion and its impact on space travel and the economy to advise them how to invest in various opportunities.
I really enjoyed representing my community at the US House of Representatives because that made me step back and take a bigger look at the needs of electric propulsion from the perspective of the whole community,” Walker said.
“I had to consider the long-term impact of investments to ensure we will have the physical infrastructure and experienced people to do the work of the future.”
Now, Mitchell is the Deputy Director for the Rockets, Space & Advanced Space Propulsion Group where he works to advance space propulsion on behalf of AIAA and advises committees under the umbrella of propulsion and energy including electric propulsion, solid propulsion, liquid propulsion, hybrid rockets, nuclear and future flight propulsion, and propellants and combustion. Through his leadership, he has bettered the aerospace community and improved the AIAA organization by leading a national forum discussion, serving as an associate editor of a journal, promoting committee opportunities within AIAA, organizing events to increase membership, and hosting technical conference sessions. His persistent involvement and passion for aerospace have made the technical society a better place. The AIAA demonstrated their recognition and gratitude for his great contributions to the field and their organization by awarding him the 2021 Sustained Service Award.
Mitchell Walker is a three-time U-M Aerospace Engineering alumnus earning his undergraduate degree in 1999, his masters degree in 2000, and his PhD in 2004 under the advisorship of Dean Alec Gallimore. He is currently a professor and Associate Chair for Graduate Studies in the School of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech where he leads a lab of nine PhD students in researching plasma physics and space propulsion. In addition to his work with the AIAA, he has also spoken on the National Academy of Engineering US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, served on the NASA Advisory Council, and served as a consultant to the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board.