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Faculty and staff receive SOCHE Excellence Awards

Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2021

 


 
 
 
Congratulations to the AFIT faculty and staff members who received 2020/2021 SOCHE Excellence Awards.  The full list of awardees is here.  Formed in 1967, SOCHE is a regional consortium of 22 colleges and universities in southwest Ohio to promote educated, employed, and engaged citizens.
 
 
January Faculty and Staff Honorees


Alissa Mason
Business Manager
Systems Engineering and Management Department
Air Force Institute of Technology
 
Alissa Mason worked diligently to obtain all the equipment necessary for AFIT faculty to teach students remotely so that classes could continue via distance learning during the COVID-19 national health emergency. Her actions assured student success because students were able to continue learning despite the canceling of in-person classes. Alissa worked closely with faculty and staff to assure department and research budgets were properly and efficiently executed at the end of the fiscal year, despite the difficulties encountered due to the COVID-19 national health emergency. She also enthusiastically helped other AFIT/EN departments complete their end-of-year purchases in a timely manner and properly prioritized tasks to meet the mission needs of the department and the Institute.
 
 
March Faculty and Staff Honorees
 

Ranell Easterday
Executive Business Manager
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Air Force Institute of Technology
 
Ranell (Nell) Easterday has managed the business processes for AFIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics with consummate skill, providing critical support to the department’s 28 faculty and 40 staff. As the lead expert for the department’s programming, budget execution, travel, and government purchasing processes, she has flawlessly managed the department’s $300K operational budget and $1.4M research budget annually. She is recognized across AFIT for her proficiency and success in navigating the annual Unfunded Requirements (UFR) process, wringing the maximum value out of every government dollar budgeted; and she voluntarily provided UFR coordination for all six departments across AFIT’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management.
 
Ranell’s support has laid the foundation for success for the more than 100 students enrolled in the department at any given time, pursuing one of four programs at the graduate certificate, Master’s, or Ph.D. level. She has deftly managed all student records and education plans; she has freely shared with students and faculty advisors her expertise in AFIT’s student information system; and her advice and assistance with thesis and dissertation processing has proven invaluable for each graduating student.
 
 
June Faculty and Staff Honorees


Maj. Levi Thomas
Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering
Air Force Institute of Technology
 
Major Levi Thomas teaches coursework in image processing, thermodynamics, hypersonics, and fluid measurements at AFIT. His fluids measurement course is lab-based and requires in-person attendance due to the hands-on aspects of the course, for which he has received acclaim from students. Despite an extraordinary time-commitment, he offered multiple sections of the labs over summer quarter, to deliver his high-quality education, while respecting COVID-induced gathering size limitations.
 
In addition to his normal faculty duties, Maj. Thomas is the division chief for student operations within the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. As such, he is responsible for daily operations, logistics and evaluations for over 100 MS and PhD students in all four academic programs within the department. He has updated the evaluation process for active-duty students and developed the communication plan for students during the COVID-19 campus access shutdown. Additionally, he handled the logistics for the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) visit to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, overcoming severe travel obstacles in place due to COVID-19. He conducted the technical writing for the SAB study which informs the Air Force technology development strategy.
 
Maj. Thomas leads a five-member research group developing next generation aircraft armor to increase the survivability of warfighting aircraft. He also conducts research into heat transfer associated with hypersonic flight, as well as propulsion considerations for hypersonic vehicles. He was awarded $100k in grants this year for his research projects. His research accomplishments are evident, in that he has already published five journal articles during his three years on the AFIT faculty.
 
 
August Faculty and Staff Honorees


Dr. Hengky Chandrahalim
Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering
Air Force Institute of Technology
 
Dr. Hengky Chandrahalim demonstrated the highest levels of teaching excellence during the 2019-2020 academic year at AFIT. He received near-perfect student evaluation scores in all categories in every course he taught during the year. In addition to his teaching excellence, he goes above and beyond in service through his leadership as the Director of the Cleanroom. Finally, his research contributions have been exemplary, with numerous publications and patent applications to his name. From his students: “Despite the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic, this was an excellent course.” “The in-class examples were very helpful. The paper assignment was an excellent way to learn how my research applies to the course material. The combination of quizzes and homework assignments helped build an understanding of a material and what was expected.”

 

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