Letter from the chair

Dear Mechanical Engineering Community,

Thank 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 BS program, MS and PhD programs , a unique Graduate Certificate in Nuclear Packaging and a Graduate Certificate in Transportation Security and

Safeguards. Over the last five years, the department consistently has awarded the largest number of BS 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 two 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) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) awards, including those to associate professors Matteo Aureli, Feifei Fan and Yan Wang, and two NASA Cooperative Research Agreement Notice awards to associate professors Pradeep Menezes and Fan. Moreover, in 2022, Assistant Professor Aditya Nair won a Department of Energy (DOE) Early Career Award and Assistant Professor Lei Cao a National Science Foundation EPSCoR RII Track-4 award. In addition, 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

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