Four Aerospace Engineering students receive TEX-REX awards

Two alumni and two current students from the Department of Aerospace Engineering have received Teaching Excellence (TEX) and Research Excellence (REX) awards for their work in the fall semester in the fall semester of 2019.

The TEX Award is given to two students who have shown exemplary accomplishments, as graduate students, in the teaching of a course or courses at Iowa State. The (REX) Award is given to two students who have shown exemplary accomplishments, as graduate students, through their research and presentations.

Bishoy Dawood and Linchuan Tian are recipients of the TEX award.

Bishoy Dawood with Dr. Chiou
Bishoy Dawood pictured with with Dr. Thomas Chiou with his TEX award.

Dawood, a doctoral candidate in engineering mechanics at Iowa State University, acquired his bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering and production technology in 2008 from Modern Academy for Engineering and Technology in Cairo, Egypt, and his master’s degree in mechanical design and production engineering from Cairo University in 2014. He joined Iowa State’s Department of Aerospace Engineering doctoral program in 2016 and will graduate in 2020 with a degree in engineering mechanics.

Dr. Thomas Chiou nominated Dawood for the TEX award for his strong self-discipline and high level of background knowledge in a plethora of engineering disciplines. According to Chiou, Dawood’s duties include the “conducting and supervising of students performing lab work, grading students’ homework and lab report assignments, preparing lab setups and holding sessions [during] office hours.” Chiou commended Dawood for his outstanding and impressive “intellect and quality of work” that he has shown.

Linchuan Tian with Dr. Joe Schaefer
Linchuan Tian with Dr. Joe Schaefer after being receiving his TEX award.

Tian, a doctoral candidate in aerospace engineering, acquired both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in flight vehicle propulsion engineering and fluid machinery and engineering from Northwestern Polytechnical University, both located in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China. He joined the aerospace engineering doctoral program in 2018 and will graduate in 2020.

Dr. Joe Schaefer nominated Tian for a TEX award for what he says is always going the extra mile in his teaching roles. “[Tian] exhibits a genuine interest in making the laboratory sections that he teaches the best possible learning experience for his students,” said Schaefer, who went on to say he goes a further step in his compassion in the betterment of teaching in volunteering to help his colleagues without being asked. As a teaching assistant, Schaefer said Tian has formed great relationships with the students and is always there to lend a helping hand whenever they are struggling and “manifests all the attributes of an outstanding teaching assistant.”

Andrew Thelen and Mohammad Jafari have been honored with the REX award.

Andrew Thelen with Dr. Leiffson
Andrew Thelen with Dr. Leifur Leifsson with his REX award.

Thelen, a recent Ph.D. graduate from Iowa State University, acquired all three of his aerospace engineering degrees from ISU. He acquired his bachelor’s degree in 2012, his master’s degree in 2016, and doctoral degree in 2019. While at Iowa State, he interned at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia in the fall of 2016 and summer of 2017, and has been interning at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in the Air Force Research Laboratory since the fall of 2017.

Dr. Leifur Leifsson nominated Thelen for the award for his “outstanding talent and passion in his research accomplishments” during his five years at Iowa State. During that time Thelen also developed several algorithms and codes that have been tested and demonstrated in practical application problems. Thelen was awarded the REX award while still a graduate student at Iowa State. He focused his research on testing simulation-based optimization of dual-rotor wind turbines and flutter prediction methods, specifically at the flutters’ design stage. Leifsson described Thelen as “an outstanding student and researcher.” Leifsson further said he truly believed Thelen was “one of the very best students I have had a chance to work with.”

Jafari, a recent doctoral graduate from Iowa State University, acquired his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Isfahan University of Technology in 2011 and Sharif University of Technology in 2013, both located in Iran. In 2019, he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Ph.D. in engineering mechanics from Iowa State University. In 2016 he joined Iowa State University’s Department of Aerospace Engineering doctoral program. Jafari was awarded the REX award while still a graduate student at Iowa State.

Mohammad Jafari with Dr. Sarkar
Mohammad Jafari is shown with Dr. Partha Sarkar after being presented with his REX award.

Dr. Partha Sarkar nominated Jafari for the award for his research contributions and contributions to education and outreach at Iowa State. Sarkar spoke highly of Jafari in saying that he was a very hardworking and responsible student who was highly motivated and enthusiastic and was very meticulous in how he conducted his research.

Jafari’s research focused on wind-induced vibration of structural/power-line cables and traffic signal structures. His research received funding through grants from the National Science Foundation, National Cooperative Highway Research Program and National Academy of Sciences. During his doctoral study, Jafari researched and designed a new wind tunnel setup that measured the vibrations of models in yawed wind conditions. He also conducted laboratory measurements, wind loads modeling, and parameter identification for wind loads through data analysis, numerical modeling, and simulations. Sarkar concluded by saying that Jafari is a “good team player and effective communicator whose performance as a researcher is truly outstanding.”


Recipients of TEX and REX awards receive a letter of commendation from ISU president Wendy Wintersteen, a certificate of achievement, and an honor cord to be worn during graduation ceremonies.