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Aerospace Giant Boeing Awards ODU Grant for M&S Educational Programs

This is one of those investments that the benefactor stands to benefit from as well.

Aerospace giant Boeing has awarded Old Dominion University a grant of $100,000 as an investment in its Modeling and Simulation (M&S) Engineering Graduate Program.

"Boeing as a company is looking for long-term collaboration with education institutions that offer courses in modeling and simulation," said Rani Kady, assistant professor in the engineering management and systems engineering department of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology.

"This grant will help us refine and expand our modeling and simulation curriculum," Kady said. "It will help us complete our program. We'll develop new courses, evaluate what's being done in the program and look at how to incorporate advanced education technologies.

The Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering will take the initiative to develop three new M&S courses under the grant. In addition to Kady, the team includes faculty members Ghaith Rabadi and Shannon Bowling from engineering management, Roland Mielke, the M&S graduate program director, and Jerry Robertson, executive director of the Virginia Applied Technology and Professional Development Center. The team also plans to consult with John Sokolowski, director of research at VMASC, for the period of the project.

Through an effort by Joyce Wheeler, manager of professional development at Boeing, Kady and other ODU team members met with David Gross and William Tucker from Boeing early in February to outline how the grant will be used to upgrade the M&S program.

The grant will clearly help ODU's initiatives in M&S education and research. But Kady said it also support Boeing's need for M&S professionals. Boeing is one of dozens of companies that have set up operations as part of the M&S cluster surrounding VMASC. The aerospace giant can use M&S technology to test design innovations for its commercial and military systems prior to building expensive prototypes. Boeing has already set up an operation in Hampton Roads to access the M&S opportunities presented by U.S. Joint Forces Command.

"Current employees can apply and use M&S technology in their jobs. By taking courses at ODU, either certificate or degree track, they can enhance their skills and knowledge," Kady said. "And as our program expands, that makes the pool of prospective employees larger for companies like Boeing.

"The money they spend could end up coming back to them many times over."

ODU is one of two schools nationwide to receive the grant. The other is the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The team targets spring 2010 to incorporate the changes to the M&S curriculum.

This article was posted on: February 13, 2009

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