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Dr. Sandip Harimkar, department head for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Dr. Kurt Rouser, assistant professor of Mechanical and Aerospace engineering present the SGT award to Caleb Bengs.

Aerospace engineering graduate receives regional SGT award

Friday, July 22, 2022

Media Contact: Kristi Wheeler | Manager, CEAT marketing and Communications | 405-744-5831 | kristi.wheeler@okstate.edu

Caleb Bengs, an aerospace engineering graduate, was one of the eight students in the country to receive the 2022 Regional Undergraduate Student Award from Sigma Gamma Tau (SGT).

Sigma Gamma Tau (SGT) is the National Honor Society in Aerospace Engineering.  The organization aims to foster a high standard of ethics, professional practices and to create a spirit of loyalty and fellowship.

Each year the faculty adviser nominates an aerospace engineering student for the SGT Annual Undergraduate Award. Dr. Kurt Rouser, a professor in OSU’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, became the chapter adviser in 2016. He selected Bengs based on his academic honors and distinctions, extracurricular activities and technical achievements.

“I nominated Caleb Bengs because he excelled in all of these areas,” Rouser said. “He is the epitome of professionalism, as I observed in class and as he served as our chapter vice president.”

Not only was Bengs selected for OSU’s SGT’s chapter Undergraduate Award, but he was also selected as a recipient for the Southwestern Region. This includes New Mexico State, The University of Oklahoma, Texas A&M University, the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Texas at Austin. The last time a student from OSU was selected for the regional award was in 2018.

“Achievements like this distinguish our aerospace engineering program, so Caleb not only won this recognition for himself, but he also brought great credit to our university,” Rouser said. “Aerospace continues to thrive in the US and particularly here in Oklahoma, and Caleb’s accomplishment highlights the contribution our aerospace engineering program makes in terms of technical achievements and student development.”

Bengs served as the SGT vice president, the chapter president of the Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Honor Society, a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. 

He also encourages current and future engineering students to get involved in research because of his experience as an undergraduate research assistant for the Center of Integrated Building Systems and a research and development intern for AAON in Tulsa.

“Although understanding engineering theory is important, undergraduate research gives an individual the opportunity to apply what he or she has learned to a real application,” Bengs said. “Furthermore, it allows one to develop great personal connections with professors, graduate students, and fellow undergraduate students.”

In August of 2022, Bengs will begin pursuing his doctorate in aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University where he will specialize in the dynamics and control of spacecraft. He will be working under the direction of Dr. Terry Alfriend.

Throughout his undergraduate career, Bengs realized the importance for students to show gratitude to those who have helped and mentored them. If there is one thing he could change about his experience at OSU, it would be to thank people more throughout his educational journey.

“At almost all points in the journey of life, somebody took an interest in our personal development and helped us reach our goals,” Bengs said. “I am very honored and thankful that Dr. Rouser chose to nominate me for this award. There are many great individuals in the local SGT chapter that are just as deserving of this award as me, so I was pleasantly surprised when he informed me of his decision to nominate me.”

As he prepares for the next chapter in his educational career, he will remember different lessons he learned throughout his leadership experience in SGT. While COVID-19 prevented the chapter from participating in many activities, the obstacle taught Bengs how to be a leader through unexpected challenges.

“I learned the importance of effective communication, patience and empathy,” Bengs said. “Therefore, I hope my time as chapter vice president is remembered as an era of perseverance and willingness to serve in the face of difficulties.”

Story By: Bailey Sisk | basisk@okstate.edu

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