Mechanical engineering student named one of Aviation Week’s “20 Twenties”

Jared Ham
Jared Ham (center), accepting his trophy from Dr. John Langford (left), CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences, and Jo Anselmo (right), editor in chief of Aviation Week, at the Aviation Week Laureate Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.

Each spring, Aviation Week magazine, in collaboration with the American Institute of Aeronautics (AIAA), recognizes 20 university students who are on the path to becoming forerunners in the field.

Mechanical Engineering Professor Azer Yalin and Professor Emeritus Frederick Smith couldn’t let this opportunity pass without nominating standout undergraduate student, Jared Ham.

“Jared demonstrates a highly developed knowledge and interest in aviation, aerodynamics, and technology of flight and rocket systems, and we knew he would make the perfect candidate for this prestigious acknowledgement,” Smith said.

AIAA hiring managers and academic professionals narrowed hundreds of applications from 35 universities on three continents, down to just 20. Ham made the cut and was officially honored as one of the “20 Twenties to Watch” in the February issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine and at the annual Aviation Week Laureate Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.

“I was honored to have even been nominated by Dr. Smith and Dr. Yalin, so I was very excited when I found out that I had been selected from the very talented pool of nominees. I was happy to be able to go to Washington, D.C., to receive the award and represent Colorado State University while I was there. I met the other 19 students selected, as well as many influential people in the aerospace industry. It was an experience that I will never forget,” said Ham.

A love for aviation

Along with pursuing two baccalaureate degrees in mechanical engineering and computer science while maintaining a 3.875 GPA, Ham is involved in several student organizations. He is currently the president of the AIAA student section at CSU and was the project manager and head engineer of CSU’s Design/ Build/Fly Competition Team in 2016-2017, and Propulsion Team lead in 2015-2016. In addition, Ham is a member of Pi Tau Sigma and the International Honor Society of Mechanical Engineers, and he is an active participant in the NASA-sponsored Space Grant project at CSU. Off campus, Ham is a longtime member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics and the Love-Air RC Club in Fort Collins.

“For as long as I can remember, I have loved aviation, but what really propelled my interest in aviation and what led me to want to become an engineer was getting into the remote control airplane hobby when I was 16. Being a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics and a member of the local Love-Air RC club has exposed me to the great engineering challenge of aircraft,” said Ham.

In addition to all of this, Ham is an undergraduate research assistant for a USDA-sponsored research project with Yalin and Smith. The project is aimed at flying laser-based sensors on a fixed-wing unmanned aeronautical vehicle, or UAV, to measure concentrations of methane and ammonia in the atmosphere near confined animal feeding operations.

“Jared has done a very effective job in leading numerous aspects of the project, including design, fabrication, operations support, systems integration, and even piloting, for a 12-foot wingspan radio controlled UAV that carries the sensors,” said Yalin.

It’s no wonder Ham was recognized as an individual to watch in the aviation industry. His passion for the field, paired with his self-motivation, leadership qualities, and sharp skills are a force to be reckoned with.

“We are confident that Jared will make a long-term and strong contribution to the aerospace industry,” said Smith.