CAE Faculty Finds Repeated Success in SURE Program and 3MT Competition

2023 SURE Applications are due Feb. 27
CAE SURE 2022 Students

In October 2022, five College of Aeronautics and Engineering (CAE) students competed in Kent State University's (KSU) Undergraduate Three Minute Thesis competition. Each student’s project was completed during the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), a summer term research program for KSU students. The CAE research projects presented ranged from additive manufacturing with ceramic materials, to tracking bird movements to prevent collisions with aircraft. 

Jill Engel and Kyle Rediger, both seniors majoring in Aeronautics, took second place in the Aeronautics and Engineering category for their work on legislative policy surrounding privacy concerns due to the growing Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry under the advisement of Professor Jason Lorenzon, JD, ATP. Haley Dees, a sophomore majoring in Aerospace Engineering earned first place in the category for her project studying the aerodynamic impacts of different winglet shapes on scale airplane models through wind tunnel testing. 

Dees was advised during the SURE program by College of Aeronautics and Engineering faculty member Dr. Ali Abdul-Aziz, whose record as a SURE mentor is impressive. Throughout his time at Kent State, Dr. Aziz has mentored 10 students on 13 different research projects. These projects have encompassed many of Dr. Aziz’s specialties, including Materials Testing with Digital Image Correlation, engine health studies, and aerodynamics. 

Many students mentored by Dr. Aziz have also earned either first or second place finishes in prior Three Minute Thesis competitions, and have had opportunities outside of the university to present or publish their work. Past SURE participants have presented work pertaining to engine rotor health during both failure and non-failure scenarios at conferences hosted by the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). In mid-February, Dees will be traveling to Detroit, MI to present her project at the WE Local Conference hosted by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and 

Dr. Aziz himself is highly decorated as a researcher, having spent 30 years working a dual post at NASA’s Glenn Research Center and Cleveland State University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering prior to joining the College of Aeronautics and Engineering in 2016. Dr. Aziz’s research has had special emphasis on structural analysis, materials characterization, and non-destructive testing such as Digital Image Correlation Technology (DIC). This research has resulted in over 170 published technical papers, articles, and conference proceedings. Most recently, Dr. Aziz sponsored a November technical focus issue of the Journal of Materials Evaluation on his work with DIC technology. 

The SURE program spans eight weeks in June and July, providing a stipend to students for their work throughout the program, in addition to offering on-campus housing for participants. Students gain incredibly valuable one-on-one experience with a faculty mentor, in addition to professional development and scholarship opportunities through student group meetings with fellow SURE participants. Dr. Aziz speaks very highly of the SURE program’s impact on student learning and development, sharing, “it is further considered a strength and an enhancement to the students’ ability to effectively capture the learning process of their research project in an attempt to help them consider pursuing a graduate degree or a research-based profession to expand their knowledge and reinforce their skills.” 

The deadline to apply for the 2023 SURE program is February 27th. For more information about the SURE program including how to apply, visit

POSTED: Monday, February 13, 2023 10:25 AM
Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2023 02:51 PM