Dr. Sridhar Santhanam, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, will be working in a different type of classroom this summer. Having been selected from a pool of educators from U.S. and international universities to participate in the Boeing Welliver Faculty Fellowship Program, Dr. Santhanam will spend eight weeks observing, offering input to, and being mentored by a professional engineer within the aerospace company.
"Dr. Santhanam’s expertise in materials and mechanics will complement the technical activities at the Boeing Philadelphia site," said Coleen Burke ME '90, MBA '99, a director in Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems. "We look forward to helping him expand his understanding of the practical applications within industry, which he can take back to the classroom."
After spending an introductory week with the other Fellows at the Boeing Leadership Center in St. Louis, Dr. Santhanam will report to a mentor at the Philadelphia site. Over six weeks, he will gain firsthand knowledge about a number of industry realities, including the customer-driven environment, the practice of engineering in a global economy, and the integrated relationship between manufacturing, engineering, and business.
The participants will return to St. Louis for the final week to present a group report on a topic assigned by Boeing, as well as individual reports that offer observations about Boeing, identify areas for possible improvement, and outline the faculty’s plans for incorporating what they have learned into their respective education programs. "I’m excited to see what seeds I can sow from this experience," said Dr. Santhanam. "This is an opportune time for me to learn about Boeing’s design and manufacturing processes and the materials being used, and to work that knowledge into the undergraduate curriculum."
Dr. Santhanam, who is the first Villanova faculty to participate in this program, hopes to develop long-term relationships with the Boeing contacts he makes this summer by inviting them to speak to engineering classes and by undertaking research projects with them.