Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Message from the Department Head
Welcome to the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). Located in the heart of Florida’s Space Coast region, FIT, or “Florida Tech,” is within close driving distances of Kennedy Space Center (KSC), as well as a large number of major high-tech engineering companies such as Harris Corporation, Siemens USA, Boeing Company and Northrop Grumman. We are also a one-hour drive from Walt Disney World and other Orlando entertainment centers. Our ideal location on the Space Coast allows close interaction between our students and faculty with nearby scientists and engineers of the U.S. space program, as well as easy access to Florida’s east coast beaches.
Florida Tech is ranked as a “Tier-One Best National University” by U.S. News and World Report in its 2013 edition of Best Colleges. In 2011, U.S. News and World Report also ranked Florida Tech sixth among the top-10 producers of student interns among national universities. About 60% of Florida Tech’s undergraduate students graduate with internship experience. Our graduate students are also extensively involved in state-of-the-art research
With more than 660 undergraduate and 65 graduate (MS and PhD) students in Fall 2013, the MAE Department has the largest undergraduate enrollment of all departments on campus. In addition to theory and applications, our faculty extensively emphasizes “hands-on” experience in our undergraduate curriculum. Our students have gained machine-shop and laboratory experiences starting with their freshman introductory classes and continuing through their senior capstone design. Our undergraduate capstone design projects range from designing experiments to be conducted onboard the International Space Station (ISS), to students flying on the ZeroG research aircraft as part of a NASA-sponsored project, to improving performance of turbines for clean energy in collaboration with the Siemens USA company, to design of various robots and automated systems as well as designing hybrid, Mini Baja and battery powered cars. Our graduate students are also engaged in state-of-the-art research sponsored by major engineering companies and government agencies such as NASA. The majority of our fulltime PhD students are supported by funded projects. Research expenditure in the department has continuously grown during the past several years and with the addition of several new faculty members and new research facilities, we expect this growth to continue.
As of Fall 2013, the Department has twenty-two (22) fulltime faculty members, with plans to hire up to four more in 2014. Our faculty members are highly distinguished, and include several fellows of professional societies and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. They are active in teaching and research and have diverse backgrounds in mechanical and aerospace engineering, with a wide range of specialties that includes automotive engineering, mechatronics, robotics, propulsion, fluid mechanics, aerodynamics, computational methods, energy conversion systems, hydrogen fuel cells, magnetic levitation, nanomaterial mechanics, composite structures, lasers, and hurricane wind damage among others. To find out about each faculty member’s background, teaching and research activities, please visit the Department’s web site as well as our faculty members’ individual websites.
Below are some other recent highlights of our department:
• Addition of a nuclear technology curriculum that includes four new courses in nuclear engineering available to juniors and seniors.
• Development of a new area of specialization in automotive engineering in our master's degree programs.
• Participation as a core research partner in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Center of Excellence (COE) for Commercial Space Transportation (CST). The COE CST is a ten-year partnership of academia, industry, and government, developed for the purpose of creating a world-class consortium that will address current and future challenges for commercial space transportation. http://www.coe-cst.org/
I invite all prospective students to visit our campus, tour our facilities, and speak with our faculty. Visits can be arranged through our Undergraduate Admissions Office and additional information can be found on their web page (www.fit.edu/ugrad). Thank you for your interest in our programs. Please contact me if you need additional information.
Hamid Hefazi, Ph.D.
Professor and Department Head
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Dept.