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A&A announces 2024 Distinguished Educator Award winners

July 3, 2024

A&A honors Profs. Hermanson and Szmuk with 2024 Distinguished Educator Awards for exceptional teaching and mentorship.

A&A is proud to announce the recipients of the 2024 Distinguished Educator Award: Professor Jim Hermanson and Affiliate Assistant Professor Miki Szmuk. Our graduating students selected these exceptional educators for their significant impact on the student experience, their contributions to the A&A community, and their unwavering commitment to high academic standards.

Professor Jim Hermanson: A cornerstone of the A&A community

Jim Hermanson headshot

Jim Hermanson

Students repeatedly praised Professor Hermanson for his passion, dedication, and ability to inspire the next generation of aerospace engineers. Students highlight his engaging teaching style, expertise in propulsion, and commitment to student success both inside and outside the classroom.

One student remarked, "Professor Hermanson's enthusiasm for his students and teaching is evident, and he clearly puts great pride into his work." Another added, "He always makes sure that students fully understand the topic if they go to him for questions. He is also very understanding and can always count to work something out with him in extenuating circumstances."

Hermanson's impact extends beyond traditional coursework. He has organized stargazing nights for students, served as the faculty advisor for the university's AIAA chapter, and consistently provided valuable career advice and life lessons. His efforts to create a supportive and enriching learning environment have not gone unnoticed, with one student noting, "Not only that, but it's clear he cares about his students and wants to put them on a path towards success after graduating from UW."

Affiliate Assistant Professor Miki Szmuk: Bringing control theory to life

Miki Szmuk headshot

Miki Szmuk

Professor Szmuk has made a significant impact in his role as an affiliate assistant professor, particularly in the field of control theory. Students praise his innovative teaching methods and ability to make complex subjects engaging and applicable to real-world scenarios.

"Professor Szmuk has helped me break through the learning curve of control theory through his excellent teaching methods," one student shared. "Because of him, I found a passion to further deepen my understanding of control systems by taking on higher-level control classes."

Another student enthusiastically declared, "Miki is the exact textbook example of what an exemplary professor is and what elite education can do." His approach to teaching has transformed students' perspectives on control systems, with one noting, "He made controls an interesting subject, and very clearly applied it to real life, physical experiments."

We congratulate Professors Hermansonand  Szmuk on this well-deserved recognition. Their dedication to excellence in education and mentorship embodies the values of our academic programs and significantly enhances the A&A experience for our students.