MAE research scientist receives Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award
Dr. Kevin Disotell, research scientist in experimental aerodynamics at Ohio State, was recognized at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International Awards Ceremony on April 5, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan as a recipient of the 2021 Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award. Initiated in 1963 by a gift from Ralph R. Teetor, 1936 president of SAE, recipients of this award are distinguished for their contributions to engineering teaching, research, and support of student extracurricular activities as early-career educators.
Disotell is an Ohio State alumnus (BS AAE ’10, PhD AAE ’15). He coordinates the Honda Partnership Aero/Acoustics Test Support Lab at the OSU Aerospace Research Center, in connection with his test/measurement program in ground vehicle aerodynamics and aeroacoustics at Transportation Research Center Inc.’s Ohio proving grounds. Disotell’s role at Ohio State includes teaching and mentoring students engaged in research opportunities with him outside of the traditional classroom, seeking technology improvements in vehicle aerodynamics that impact energy efficiency, exterior soiling and water management for safety/drivability, and airborne noise.
Reflecting the belief of its donor that engineering educators are the most effective link between engineering students and their future careers, the SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Fund recognizes early-career educators who have distinguished themselves in impacting the future engineering workforce. The award’s namesake, Ralph R. Teetor, is recognized as the inventor of automotive cruise control as a 1988 inductee to the Automotive Hall of Fame. Teetor was unable to see in both eyes since the age of five; he persevered to design important mechanical components for automobiles as lead engineer and later president at Perfect Circle Corporation.
“I’ve benefited from a meaningful group of mentors in my own career,” Disotell said, “so being recognized by others for just doing what has been shown to me is humbling to think about.”
For the past 60 years, the Teetor program has provided a focused opportunity for more than 800 engineering educators from around the world to meet with industry and civil-service engineers by networking at major SAE conferences supporting research, design, development, and production of transportation vehicles. Since its inception, Teetor Award recipients have represented over 200 universities and colleges from around the world. Awardees must be engineering educators with more than three, but less than 10 years of full-time faculty experience following completion of terminal degree. A board of judges comprised of academic and industry personnel selects awardees annually, based on contributions to teaching and curriculum development; contributions to research, including publications related to SAE mobility interests; and leadership in student engagement.
Dr. Disotell commented on the impact he seeks to make in the laboratory setting with his teaching and research activities. “I emphasize the finer craft of technical writing and documentation, which can be a struggle because doing these things well takes time and commitment beyond just having the technical soundness,” he said. “It can be hard to teach everything that makes a quality report or presentation, other than knowing it when you see it. At the end of the day, successful engineers must be exposed to effective communication skills.”
Founded in 1905, SAE International is a global association of more than 127,000 engineers and related technical experts in the automotive, aerospace and commercial-vehicle industries with members in more than 98 countries. Some of its famous early members included Orville Wright, Glenn Curtiss, Charles Lindbergh, Charles Kettering, Henry Ford and Jimmy Doolittle.