Michael Swartwout, Ph.D., Named New Chair of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department

June 8, 2016
Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Parks College News

swartwoutnewchair458wMichael Swartwout, Ph.D.

Michael Swartwout, Ph.D., has been named the next chair of the aerospace and mechanical engineering department at Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology. His appointment is effective July 1, 2016.

Swartwout currently serves as an associate professor in the department of aerospace and mechanical engineering in Parks College — a role he has held since 2015. Additionally, he had been an assistant professor with the department since 2009. Prior to coming to SLU, Swartwout was an assistant professor at Washington University from 2000 to 2009.

“This is a very dynamic time for Parks College” said incoming Dean Michelle Sabick, Ph.D. “We are re-envisioning our curriculum to develop students’ 21st century engineering skills.  Mike has demonstrated his leadership in both student-centered teaching and hands-on research.  He is the right person to lead the department of aerospace and mechanical engineering during this period of growth.”

As a student, Swartwout worked on many student-built space missions. Today, Swartwout currently serves as the co-director of Parks College’s Space Systems Research Laboratory (SSRL), where he trains SLU students to launch their own spacecraft. The first mission, SLU-01/COPPER, launched in November 2013. Swartwout is currently leading students to build COPPER-02, which is set to launch in October 2016. Also under his direction, the SSRL launched Argus in November 2015. The SSRL is also working on Rascal, which is set to launch in April 2018.

As a result of his work in the SSRL, Swartout has published many journal articles on student-built satellites and CubeSats. He has also given many conference presentations and invited talks on the topic.

Committed to professional service, Swartwout is a senior member of AIAA, and member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) where he serves as the session chair of the Aerospace Conference: Systems and Technologies for CubeSat/Smallsats.  He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society; SLU’s representative to the Missouri Space Grant Consortium; and one of SLU’s KEEN iFaculty fellows.

In his tenure at SLU, Swartwout has received numerous teaching awards including the 2011 and 2012 Student Government Association Faculty Excellence Awards for Engineering, the 2012 MAGIS Service award and the 2013 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award at the regional level.

Swartwout holds three degrees — a doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University and a master’s and bachelor’s, both in aerospace engineering, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Swartwout succeeds Sridhar Condoor, Ph.D., who has served as chair of the department since July 2013. Condoor will be returning to a faculty role in the department. 

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