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(Department of Defense -- Aerospace Education, Research and Innovation Center)


The Tuskegee University (TU) DOD-AERIC will provide a unique, exciting, and engaging environment for the training/education of future DOD aerospace engineers, as well as engineers from aerospace-related areas. The Center will build on the strong research capabilities and track record of the TU College of Engineering to tackle basic and applied research relevant to the DOD and aerospace industry. The TU College of Engineering will develop and leverage partnerships among Defense Laboratories, aerospace industries, and academic engineering programs to enrich the DOD-AERIC’s activities. These include providing research projects, teaming on joint proposals, providing student internships and employment opportunities, joint advising of student research projects, sponsoring seminars and workshops, and establishing the TU DOD-AERIC External Advisory Committee. U.S. citizens from underrepresented populations are sought particularly, and highly encouraged to apply.


Students in classroom


Lab research equipment


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People sitting at table talking

Education      Research      Innovation      Outreach

The Education Component of the
Center will develop courseware
materials on contemporary
aerospace and other engineering
topics, technical elective
courses, and course modules
for both graduate and 
undergraduate students.
Undergraduate students will gain
expertise preparing them for the
multidisciplinary master’s degree that
will be offered, as well as other
aerospace programs in the
United States. 



The Research Component will
enhance basic and applied research
in the areas of characterization
of aerospace and DOD-related
materials and components exposed
to extreme environmental conditions,
experimental aerodynamics, additive
manufacturing, fracture behavior and
damage tolerance of Ceramic Matrix
Composites, etc. The products from
this effort will enable transition of
knowledge and understanding to
DOD laboratories via publications,
graduate theses, conferences, and
undergraduate research reports.


The Innovation Component will
provide students with the environment
and resources (materials, faculty,
guest speakers, inventors/role models)
for exploration. 

The products of this environment will 
be documentation of the development
of pathways to commercialization
and entrepreneurship.


The Outreach Component of the
Center will expose high and
middle school students, mostly from
underrepresented populations,
and their teachers in the research
and educational elements of the
DOD-AERIC activities. Specifically,
a summer program (Mentoring
Introduction to Aviation Science,
MITAS) and a Saturday program
(Aviation Career Exploration, ACE)
will capture in these students and
teachers an awareness, interest,
excitement, and confidence in the
potential of a career in DOD,
aerospace, and other engineering

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  1. Mode I Interlaminar Fracture Toughness of Unidirectional Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Matrix Composites 
  2. Leveraging the Use of Rapid Deployment and Capture of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Systems


  1. The Integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) 
  2. Evaluation of Mode-I Fracture Toughness of Ceramic Matrix Composites using Compliance Calibration, Modified Beam Theory, and Modified Compliance Calibration 

  3. Effect of Build Orientation and Post Processing Parameters on the Morphological, Mechanical and Fracture Properties of Laser Powder Bed Fusion Additively Manufactured Metallic Alloys 

2021 - 2022 RESEARCH TEAM


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Click here to view flyer (Deadline past)



DOD-AERIC Organizational Chart


Army Research Laboratory (ARL)

Collaboration with DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory (ARL) to design, characterize and conduct experimentation
of platforms for Next Generation Combat Vehicles.

DevCom-Army Research Lab image

Aviation and Missile Center (AvMC)

Collaboration with DEVCOM Aviation and Missile Center (AvMC).

DevCom-Aviation and Missle Center image


Collaboration and synergy between the DOD-AERIC and the existing Tuskegee-Nucor Education and Research
Center (NERC). The Nucor Center focuses on applied research on steels and their alloys.

Nucor image


Partnership and product support with Snap-on to furnish the Innovation, and Mechanical Dissection labs,
as well as outreach activities, and scholarships.

Snap-On image


Collaboration with Dynetics on research projects related to environmental aging of adhesively bonded joints,
fracture, and fatigue behavior of selected additively manufactured materials, and designing environmental
exposure testing procedures and measuring environmental effects on selected alloys.

Dynetics image


Collaboration and support with Boeing for student research projects and outreach programs.


Material Sciences LLC (MSC) / University of Pittsburgh

Collaboration on funded research with Materials Sciences, LLC (MSC) / the University of Pittsburgh on the
characterization of additively manufactured metals.

Material Sciences LLC thumbnail


Collaboration and Synergy between the DOD-AERIC and the existing Tuskegee-Chevron Additive Manufacturing
Lab.  The Chevron Lab at the Tuskegee University College of Engineering focuses on 3D printing of polymeric 
and fiber reinforced components, as well as 3D scanning and reverse engineering.

Chevron image

Wichita State University (NIAR)

Collaboration with Wichita State University - National Institute for Aviation Research (NAIR) on funded research
on the mechanical and fracture characterization of ceramic matrix composites.

Wichita State University - NAIR image


Internship Opportunities for Engineering students:

1) Future Innovators internship program sponsored by FirePoint at Wichita State University

Progress to Date

  • Six undergraduate students started their research in Fall 2021and Spring 2022 semesters.
  • Monthly COE status meetings were established with participation from Army, Air Force, and Navy. 
  • Weekly research meetings with students occurred, featuring participation and mentoring from ARL (Dr. Pablo Guzmán) and AvMC (Mr. Keith Roberts).
  • Established Speaker Series: Five virtual seminars have been presented so far to Tuskegee students and faculty by DOD staff; SFC Esquivel, Mr. Roberts, Dr. Christensen, Dr. Guzmán, and Dr. Riddick.
  • Two current Tuskegee faculty;  Dr. Akasheh (Additive Manufacturing) and Dr. Basit (Materials Characterization)  have joined the DOD- AERIC team.
  • An external Advisory Committee has been established representing Army, Air Force, industry, and academia.
  • Link to brochure describing the DOD-AERIC.
  • Job announcements for recruiting one research faculty, and two post-docs were processed. 
  • Program manager position filled by Mr. Arthur Spencer Jr.
  • Postdoc position filled by Dr. Robert Kubiak.

Relevant Capabilities at TU

Fracture and failure analysis, corrosion and erosion studies, high temperature polymeric materials and coatings, additive manufacturing, degradation of materials under extreme conditions, processing and characterization of fiber reinforced composites, welding and steel repair, nondestructive evaluation, characterization of ceramic and carbon/carbon composites - biomaterials, experimental aerodynamics, computational mechanics, multiresolution signal/image analysis, micro and nanofabrication, portable sensors, etc.


Arthur Spencer, Jr., Program Manager
  Program Manager: TU DOD-AERIC 

Heshmat Aglan, Dean
  Principal Investigator: DOD-AERIC 

Lisa Pitts, Business Manager

College of Engineering
  Tuskegee University
200 Luther Foster Hall
1200 W. Montgomery Road
Tuskegee, Alabama 36088