photo of John D. Cinnamon
Permanent Professor and Head, Department of Aeronautics

Job Title

Permanent Professor and Head, Department of Aeronautics


USAF Academy


USAF Academy, CO 

Why did you decide to pursue an aerospace engineering degree?  

I strongly desired to pursue the most challenging degree program that would enhance my career as an Air Force Pilot. 

Please include a brief paragraph describing your current position.

I was recently appointed by the President of the United States, and confirmed by the US Senate, as the 95th Permanent Professor in the history of the Air Force Academy. I am now allowed to continue to serve until I turn 64 years old. 

What do you like most about your job? What do you find most challenging? 

I enjoy teaching our USAF Academy Cadets the art of aeronautical engineering. I also instruct in the initial flight training program in the T-53 aircraft. The most challenging aspect of my job is to continue to provide world-class education in an environment of decreasing budgets and manpower. 

What are your career goals? 

To serve effectively as the Department Chair for Aeronautical Engineering until retirement. 

Which of the following student projects / organizations were you involved with in ASE/EM? 

AIAA and ROTC Mentor 

How did your experience in these group/s help prepare you for your career?

The mentorship from faculty and fellow students made an immeasurable impact on my educational development. 

Were you involved in any fellowships or internships? If so, please explain and discuss the benefits.

I attended UT Austin under a Graduate Schools Program Scholarship, sponsored by the USAF Academy. 

Do you recommend any particular focus for students other than academics to improve themselves as potential candidates for jobs?

It is crucial to be a well-rounded, healthy, and emotionally intelligent human being in order to make important contributions to our organizations. 

Are there courses at UT you wish you had taken? If so, which ones and why?

I wish I had more than 12 months to complete my Masters. I would have enjoyed a slower pace and been able to take advantage of the programs at UT more effectively. 

Why did you choose one track over the other (atmospheric/space)?

I chose a space emphasis in order to position myself for an eventual application to the Shuttle program at NASA. My career timing did not allow me to pursue that option.

Who was your most influential ASE or EM professor and why? 

Dr. Wallace Fowler was an amazing influence in my academic career. He demanded a high level of performance, while being willing to assist me in any way to achieve my goals. 

What has been your most influential ASE or EM course and why? 

Optimal Control Theory. It taught me to seize responsibility for my own education, to seek answers outside the classroom, to learn where I had holes in the math background, and to never give up.

What is one piece of advice you have for current students? 

Give help freely to your peers. It will be your turn to struggle sooner than you think. 

Do you have a favorite memory as a UT aerospace student? 

Dr. Wallace Fowler's satellite/mission design class.