Letter from the chair

Dear Mechanical Engineering Community,

Head shot of Petros VoulgarisThank you for your interest in the Mechanical Engineering (ME) Department at the University of Nevada, Reno. The department is experiencing strong growth and university/community support as the University attained Carnegie R1 Classification for the first time in 2019.

In fall 2021, ME initiated an Aerospace Engineering Program with a minor degree, with plans to establish a major degree program in the coming years. The department has secured a 5,700-square-foot Aerospace Engineering Experimental Station along with additional equipment to enhance its research and educational capabilities, including a subsonic wind tunnel.

ME offers an ABET-accredited B.S. programM.S. and Ph.D. programs, a Graduate Certificate in Nuclear Packaging and a Graduate Certificate in Transportation Security and Safeguards. Over the last several years, the department consistently has awarded the largest number of B.S. degrees in the College of Engineering. All our graduates take part in our signature hands-on laboratory and capstone design experiences, and many participate in our varied student club activities and/or take advantage of internships or our industry-oriented minors that align with Nevada’s engineering employers. In the past few years, our graduate program enrollment has grown in excess of 25%, and our alumni find placement in leadership positions in industry, national labs and academia

Our department is home to exciting research at the forefront of many areas in mechanical and aerospace engineering. In the past few years, our faculty have received numerous impressive distinctions, including the prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Program (YIP) award, which went to Assistant Professor van Breugel, as well as a streak of National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Energy (DOE) Early Career awards, including those to professors Matteo AureliFeifei Fan, Yan Wang, Aditya Nair and Lei Cao. Several other highly competitive awards recently have been received, including a multimillion National Science Foundation (NSF) Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) project led by Assistant Professor Floris van Breugel and a Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR) venture by Assistant Professor Aditya Nair. In addition, Associate Professor Lei Cao won a National Science Foundation EPSCoR RII Track-4 award, Assistant Professor Yifei Jin has won an NSF award and Associate Professor Pradeep Menezes was a key investigator in several multimillion awarded Department of Energy (DoE) research grants. Finally, ME led the University’s participation in such high-visibility awarded projects as the NSF Institute on AI for Dynamic Systems and the NASA University Leadership Initiative.

A number of our students have received prestigious fellowships and awards such as the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) awards and the University’s Sam Lieberman Regents’ Award.

ME Department external funding increased by 70% in 2019 and continued strong in the following years, averaging more than $3.2 million per year for the last three years. This includes funding from NSF, NASA, DOE, U.S. Department of Defense, American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and industry sources.

I invite you to take a deeper look at our programs, research, and faculty.

Go Wolf Pack!

Petros Voulgaris

Petros Voulgaris
Chair, Mechanical Engineering Department
Founding Aerospace Program Director
Victor LaMar Lockhart Professor
University of Nevada, Reno
(775) 682-5725
PE 204C