Aerospace engineering students honor Reed for dedication to teaching

Texas A&M Sigma Gamma Tau President Austin Probe presented Dr. Helen Reed with the 2012 Thomas U. McElmurry Teaching Excellence Award at the AIAA Banquet in May.Photo of Dr. Helen Reed

Decided by the 2012 May and December graduating seniors, the award cited Reed for "exemplifying dedication and commitment to developing students professionally and academically by displaying a desire for students to succeed, creatively presenting classroom material, and offering opportunities for mentorship and guidance outside the classroom in the aerospace engineering department at Texas A&M University."

At Texas A&M, Reed is a professor and past department head. She is a co-PI on the NASA/Air Force National Hypersonics Science Center in Laminar-Turbulent Transition and directs the AggieSat Lab Satellite Program. Her students and she launched Texas A&M's first satellite, AggieSat2, on the NASA Space Shuttle STS-127 in July 2009. A partnership with NASA Johnson Space Center, AggieSat2 operated for 230 days from release to de-orbit into the Pacific Ocean. The integration and testing of AggieSat4 is being completed by her students, with delivery to NASA JSC in Fall 2012, launch on a SpaceX vehicle, and release from the International Space Station into orbit in 2013.

Reed is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Physical Society and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She was the recipient of the 2007 J. Leland "Lee" Atwood Award from the American Society for Engineering Education Aerospace Division and AIAA; the award is bestowed annually upon an aerospace engineering educator in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession. She was inducted into the Academy of Engineering Excellence and the College of Engineering Committee of 100 at Virginia Tech, her alma mater.

In 2011, Reed was appointed to the National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. ASEB operates as the National Academies’ focus for “bringing knowledge and expertise of aerospace engineering community to bear on significant technical and policy questions about nationally important aeronautics and space programs.” She has also prior been selected for various NASA aeronautics advisory committees, subcommittees and task forces; the NASA Federal Laboratory Review Task Force of the NASA Advisory Council; the NRC Aerodynamics Panel; and associate editor of Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics. She was the first woman selected for the NATO/AGARD Fluid Dynamics Panel.

For AIAA, she has served on several committees, including Fellows Selection, AIAA journal editor in chief selection, chair of the Atwood Award, chair of the Aerospace Department Chairs’ Association, and Academic Affairs. She has served on advisory boards for aerospace programs at four universities, and on the Vision 2025 Executive Committee for Engineering Science & Mechanics at Virginia Tech.