Andrew Becnel

Andrew Becnel


Department of Aerospace Engineering doctoral candidate Andrew Becnel has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Alex Brown Leadership Award. Becnel was selected for his outstanding skill as both a scholar and a student in addition to a demonstration of strong leadership skills.

Becnel served as Vice President of the AIAA Student Chapter as an undergraduate and demonstrated strong aptitude in research by working on a broad spectrum of research projects including: chemical vapor deposition; metal film sputtering; preparation of silicon wafers for micro- and nanofabrication applications, and development of constellation satellite configurations for the Global Precipitation Measurement Program, which he presented at Goddard Space Flight Center in Summer 2007.

Becnel earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Louisiana State University, where he was their top graduate, earning the Tau Beta Pi Senior of the Year (2008), and graduating with Mechanical Engineering Honors. While an undergraduate student, he held a National Merit Scholarship (2003-2007), a Centennial Scholarship (2003-2007) and Pegues Scholarship (2003-2007). He successfully completed the Engineer-in-Training examination in Mechanical Engineering for the State of Louisiana.

Becnel has been a graduate research assistant under Minta Martin Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Department Chair Norman Wereley in the Smart Structures Laboratory at the University of Maryland since 2008. In 2010, Becnel was awarded a prestigious National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship to support three years of Ph.D. research. Under his NDSEG funding, Becnel has worked on a working on a rotary magnetorheological energy absorber (MREA) for helicopter seats as part of crash protection systems.

Becnel served as a volunteer, giving presentations at local magnet schools for aerospace technologies and according to Aerospace Engineering Professor Alison Flatau, "He's one of those rare students who, much like Alex Brown, really has a great deal of fun in sharing his enthusiasm for technical aspects of the field of Aerospace Engineering with others. He leads by sharing his passion and excitement about our field with others."

The Alex Brown Leadership Award was established in memory and honor of the late Alex Brown, who was a Ph.D. candidate in the Aerospace Engineering program. Brown was well known for his energy and great leadership potential. He was optimistic and upbeat, and even under intense pressure, radiated positive feelings that created resonance. He inspired others through courage and hope, and he encouraged others to continue the quest for success and innovation.

Becnel will be awarded during the Department of Aerospace Engineering's Winter Recognition Ceremony to be held Monday, December 16, 2013. 

For more information, or to contribute to the Alex Brown Fund, please visit the fund's website.

December 12, 2013

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