Walker to lead the school after serving as the College’s associate dean for academic affairs.

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Mitchell Walker, the John W. Young Chair and professor in Georgia Tech’s Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, has been selected as the School’s next chair. Walker is currently serving as the College’s associate dean of academic affairs and will begin his new role on Jan. 2, 2024.

“Over the last two decades, Mitchell has exhibited remarkable leadership in service to Georgia Tech, excelling in the aerospace field and developing academic initiatives that bolster our undergraduate and graduate engineering students,” said Raheem Beyah, dean of the College and Southern Company Chair. “He embodies the innovation and perseverance that characterizes our AE School, the nation’s No. 1 ranked public aerospace program, through his research and forward-thinking vision.”

Walker has been an AE School faculty member since 2004. His primary research interests include experimental and theoretical studies of advanced plasma propulsion concepts for spacecraft. This includes a focus on Hall thrusters, gridded ion engines, and vacuum facility effects.

Walker directs Georgia Tech’s High Power-Electric Propulsion Laboratory. He’s also principal investigator and director of the $15 million Joint Advanced Propulsion Institute (JANUS), a multi-university NASA Space Technology Research Institute that develops strategies and methodologies to surmount limitations in ground testing of high-power electric propulsion systems. JANUS’s goal is to enable and proliferate the flight of high-power electric propulsion systems.

Walker has served on the College’s leadership team since May 2022 as the primary representative of the dean’s office on all matters affecting undergraduate and graduate academics.

Mitchell Walker headshot

“I am incredibly honored to be selected as chair. Our AE School delivers an excellent academic program and performs world-class research,” Walker said. “I’m excited to work with the leadership, faculty, students, research engineers, staff, and alumni to advance the school and build upon its tremendous strengths, collegiality, and inclusive culture.”

Walker is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and is the organization’s deputy director for Space Rockets and Advanced Propulsion. He’s also associate editor of the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets and on the Editorial Board of Frontiers in Physics and Astronomy and Space Sciences – Plasma Physics.

He is a member of the Department of Energy Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee and a member of the NASA Advisory Council – Technology, Innovation, and Engineering Committee. 

Walker is a recipient of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program Award, the AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award, the AIAA Sustained Service Award, and the Georgia Power Professor of Excellence Award.

Walker replaces Mark Costello, who recently stepped down after a five-year term as AE chair.