The following blog post was originally published on by Jan McHarg. Sean Whitney is a 2012 graduate of Legacy Christian Academy and recent graduate of Texas A&M University.

Sean Whitney, a May 2017 graduate in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been named the 2017 Southwestern Region award winner from Sigma Gamma Tau (SGT), the national aerospace engineering honor society. He has studied and conducted research on nonlinear adaptive control of hypersonic air vehicles for three years under Dr. John Valasek, professor of aerospace engineering, in the Vehicle Systems & Control Laboratory.

This award recognizes Whitney as one of the top seven aerospace engineering seniors in the United States in 2017, based on his academic, service and extracurricular accomplishments. The honorarium is in the form of a check for $250 and a plaque documenting his award. In addition, a brass nameplate will be installed on the department's SGT perpetual plaque. Texas A&M has produced six national and 25 regional award winners, leading the country in both categories.

Upon accepting the award, Whitney said “The many achievements which this award represents would simply not have been possible were it not for the perpetual support of my family, my peers and fellow cadets, and the outstanding faculty and advising staff of the aerospace engineering department.” Whitney is a May graduate and is also commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, where his first assignment will be to Vance Air Force Base as a pilot candidate. Whitney will graduate again in August from Texas A&M with a Master of Engineering in aerospace engineering.

Valasek said of Whitney, “Sean has been an exceptional student to work with, both inside the classroom and in my laboratory. He is strongly committed to excellence in everything he does, and this was recognized by Lawrence Livermore Laboratories when they assigned him to work directly with their Ph.D. technical staff scientists during his junior year summer internship. That does not happen very often. Sean has been an absolute pleasure to work with over the years, and I am very proud of him.”

Formed in 1957 on the campus of Purdue University, SGT seeks to identify and recognize achievement and excellence in the aerospace field. The SGT undergraduate awards serve to select outstanding aerospace engineering students at both the regional and national levels to recognize the accomplishments of these young students as they begin their professional careers. As one of the original founding chapters of SGT, Texas A&M is a member of the Southwestern Region, which also includes the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, The University of Texas at Arlington, and The University of Texas at Austin.

The Texas A&M chapter provides service to the department, university and the profession with tutoring and mentoring for underclassmen, university and community service, and exclusive professional networking events to help members grow as aerospace scholars. In all, more than 700 members have been inducted into the Texas A&M chapter.