raghav mahalingam lunar awardRaghav Mahalingam, a lecturer in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics (ASE/EM), was selected as the winner of the 2019 ASE/EM LUNAR Council Teaching Award. Since its inception in 2015, the award has been given annually to one ASE/EM faculty member who has made a positive impact on students’ educational experience through superior teaching.

The award was established by the LUNAR (Leadership, Undergraduate, Networking and Recruitment) Council, a group of student leaders in the ASE/EM Department that was developed to create a dialogue between students and department faculty and staff. Each year LUNAR uses student feedback and numerical ratings to select the faculty recipient.

Mahalingam was selected for his passion for teaching and the time he takes to make sure that students really understand the material.

“He has always been one of the most passionate professors that I've had. He truly cares that his students learn the important concepts of what he is teaching. He is a brilliant, passionate, genuine, inspiring, patient, and absolutely wonderful professor,” wrote one ASE/EM student.

Another student wrote about Mahalingam’s ability to make difficult concepts more easily understood.

“He is really good at explaining concepts and he will take time in class to address specific questions to ensure that everyone understands the material. Additionally, he always tries to connect the class with the aerospace industry by adding in real-world examples. You can tell from his lectures that he finds the content fascinating and he wants all of his students to learn. He is an outstanding professor, and I wish I could take more classes with him!”

He was happy and surprised to be selected as this year’s winner of the award.

“I felt really honored, and very happy that the students appreciate my commitment to teaching, Mahalingam said. “Also, while I’ve heard positive feedback from many of them personally and through course surveys, this was a pleasant surprise.”

He went on to say that teaching and interacting with students has been one of the biggest highlights of his career.

“In my career, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in different settings, from academic research labs to start-ups and large corporations. I can honestly say that nothing has given me as much joy as teaching and interacting with students,” Mahalingam said. “I feel that I can have a direct impact on not just their academic growth in the classroom, but also their personal growth beyond the classroom. While it’s always fun to get through to them on the immediate subject matter, helping them see the bigger picture has always been something I’ve strived for.”

Mahalingam has a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering (1999) from Georgia Tech. He was one of the co-founders of a thermal management start-up in 2004, which was acquired in 2014, after which he played key roles in other early stage companies till 2018. He started teaching at UT Austin in 2016, and since then has taught courses in Aerodynamics, Propulsion, Design and Electromechanical Systems. He was the 2017 recipient of the Most Exemplary Faculty Member Award for Aerospace Engineering, presented by the Student Engineering Council and Cockrell School of Engineering.