Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Yiyang Sun Launches “Women in Aerospace” Program at Syracuse University

Aerospace engineering student

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Yiyang Sun is committed to promoting greater participation of women in the aerospace field so that it benefits from their diverse perspectives and backgrounds. Since societal relevance is essential to selecting majors and careers for women, Professor Sun has designed educational and outreach activities to help more young women see the relevance of aerospace engineering to society and pursue an aerospace-relevant career.

The “Women in Aerospace Series” will be conducted annually and consists of events to be held in the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Each event provides education and research content appropriate for different needs, from an introduction to various career pathways to mastering research skills.

Spring Semester – Coffee Hour Network event

The program will feature a student panel followed by invited speakers and provide time for Q&A. This Coffee Hour Network aims to help students form a big picture of potential career pathways and provide students with access to resources that will foster their attainment of career goals.

Summer Semester – Providing research experiences for undergraduate and high school students

A 6-week summer research experience is designed for undergraduate students. The project provides enough time for students to understand the fundamentals while being able to complete an innovative research plan. Professor Sun will make the research skills and methods they learn during the summer semester more relevant to general concepts in the aerospace field, such as data measurement and flow simulation, so the research experience they receive can yield a broader influence on their future career.

Professor Sun has also collaborated with the Syracuse University Office of Pre-College Programs to provide a 2-week summer research immersion program entitled “Seizing the Sky: Introduction and Application of Aerodynamic Flow Control.” During the two weeks, high-school students will rotate between computational and experimental laboratories, interacting with college students to learn emerging research topics and cutting-edge methods of tackling aerodynamic problems. The high-school students will be assigned small tasks, such as simple Matlab programming, numerical simulation of fluid flows, and experimental data measurements in a supersonic wind tunnel and a high-speed jet facility. It is expected that high school students can complete the tasks with necessary help from Dr. Sun’s research group and obtain the basic skills that can be taken away for more general usage in their future studies and career.

Fall Semester – Conference attendance and student mentoring

The program offered in the fall semester aims to provide undergraduate students who have engaged in research over the past spring and summer semesters with more advanced mentorship in conducting research and support their participation at world-class conferences. It serves as an opportunity for undergraduate students to complete the “Women in Aerospace Series” program and present their research results to professionals in public.