Hill AFB, Utah State sign partnership agreement

  • Published
  • By Sydney Dahle
  • USU Public Relations

A new agreement between Utah State University and Hill Air Force Base will create enhanced learning opportunities for students and spur innovative joint research efforts.

The Education Partnership Agreement was signed May 11 by USU President Noelle E. Cockett and Wayne Ayer, a director of the Air Force Sustainment Center’s Engineering and Technical Management Directorate in Ogden.

“There are so many opportunities and technologies that exist within the Air Force that students and faculty can be a part of,” Ayer said. “By meeting with students through mentoring, student design projects, tech talks, tours and various other engagements, we can help enhance their understanding of a STEM career and expose them to various ways they can utilize their degree.”

The agreement creates a more direct partnership between USU and Hill Air Force Base, which allows both parties to more efficiently engage on future research.

Under the partnership, USU faculty and students will have access to Air Force specialized equipment such as design and testing software, large scale metal, composite and plastics 3D printing, wind chambers and testing facilities. Members of the Air Force will in turn be given the opportunity to earn certificates and degrees from USU.

“USU and Hill Air Force Base have collaborated for many years in areas of research and student engagement,” said Dixon Nielson, director of industry relations for USU’s College of Engineering. “However, it can be complicated to approve research or student capstone projects with the military. This agreement streamlines that process so we can engage with our neighbors at Hill more regularly and more efficiently.”

The Air Force has sponsored five senior capstone projects for USU engineering students in the past. Several USU engineering faculty and students are currently working on research projects with the Air Force in a number of topics ranging from wind turbines to aircraft structure and functions.

“This partnership will be mutually beneficial,” said Jagath Kaluarachchi, dean of the College of Engineering. “We want to strengthen the relationship between USU students and the Air Force with the hope that more collaborative research will come from it. I look forward to seeing what this agreement brings to both parties.”

The agreement is scheduled to last for 60 months.