Olesya Zhupanska, University of Arizona professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, has been named a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, or ASME, and a class of 2018 associate fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, or AIAA.
ASME fellows are recognized for significant engineering achievements and must have at least 10 years of active practice and 10 years of corporate membership in the organization. AIAA associate fellows are recognized for conducting original work of outstanding merit and must be AIAA senior members in good standing with at least 12 years of professional experience. Her ASME fellowship was awarded specifically for her work with composite materials.
ASME is the largest mechanical engineering society in the world, with more than 100,000 members. Fewer than 3 percent of its members are elevated to the status of fellow.
Zhupanska has authored or co-authored more than 100 technical publications and received many awards, including the ASME/Boeing Best Paper Award, the National Research Council Senior Research Associateship Award, the DARPA Young Faculty Award, the Elsevier Young Composites Researcher Award, the American Society for Composites Best Paper Award, the Robert and Virginia Wheeler Faculty Fellowship in Engineering at the University of Iowa and four Air Force summer faculty fellowships.
She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanics and applied mathematics with highest honors at Kiev National Taras Shevchenko University in Ukraine, and her PhD in mechanics of solids and applied mathematics at the same university.
Her research is centered on composite structures, which are being used with increasing frequency in aircraft because they are so lightweight and strong. Researchers such as Zhupanska expect that composites will also be used in automobiles in the future. Zhupanska focuses on researching the weaknesses of composite materials -- such as their low electrical conductivity and their unchanged outward appearance when damaged -- and looking for ways to improve them. This work has far-reaching implications for everything from improving vehicle safety by creating structures that can withstand electrical shocks to lowering environmental impact by making vehicles lighter and more fuel efficient.
Zhupanska’s research has been supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the U.S. Department of the Air Force, and NASA.
She has served as chair of the executive committee of the aerospace division and the technical committee of structures and materials in ASME. She has also been the aerospace technology track organizer at the International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, or IMECE, and is serving as technical program chair at this year’s IMECE.