Corina Sandu, professor of mechanical engineering and associate department head for graduate studies in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been named the Robert E. Hord Jr. Professor of Mechanical Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors as of November 2019.

The Robert E. Hord Jr. Professorship of Mechanical Engineering was established by a gift from the late Robert E. Hord Jr., who earned his bachelor’s degree in 1949 and a master’s degree the following year, both from the College of Engineering, was an enthusiastic supporter of Virginia Tech’s chemical and mechanical engineering programs.

The professorship acknowledges and rewards faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering who have shown exceptional merit in research, teaching, and/or service. Recipients hold the position for a five-year term.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2003, Sandu has made significant contributions to research and scholarship in foundational theories and practical applications of multibody system dynamics and vehicle dynamics. She has advanced the science of uncertainty quantification for multibody systems, real-time parameter estimation, and off-road vehicle performance. She has built unique infrastructure for terramechanics studies and has developed specialized courses in multibody dynamics, terramechanics, off-road vehicle performance, and ground vehicle dynamics, for which she has extensively integrated research into course material. Sandu is the director of the Terramechanics, Multibody, and Vehicle Systems (TMVS) Laboratory.

Sandu has been involved in research projects that have garnered more than $12 million in funding and has written 79 peer-reviewed journal papers, nine book chapters, 97 peer-reviewed conference proceedings, 18 other conference proceedings, and 50 technical reports. She has given 46 keynotes and invited presentations, 87 poster presentations, and 114 oral conference presentations. 

Her scholarship has been widely recognized. Sandu is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a Fellow of Society of Automobile Engineers, and a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow. She received the SAE Forest R. McFarland Award twice, in 2013 and in 2019. She has also been recognized for her service to SAE’s international publication’s board, and for her service in the SAE engineering meetings board.

Sandu received the SAE Rodica Baranescu Award for Technical and Leadership Excellence in Commercial Vehicles Engineering in 2013 and the SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award in 2007. She has earned the International Society for Terrain-Vehicle Systems conference best paper award in 2017, the ISTVS collaborative small research award in 2015, and the ASME Advanced Vehicle and Tire Technologies conference best paper award in 2009. She served as Chair of the ASME Design Engineering Division and is now the Vice-President of the International Society for Terrain-Vehicle Systems. She also received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Service in 2012 and Teacher of the Week in 2017.

Sandu has directed 17 doctoral dissertations and 19 master’s degree theses. She has also been a committee member on 29 Ph.D. committees, 38 master of science committees, four master of engineering committees, two non-thesis master of science committees, and an external examiner for 10 Ph.D. students and one master’s degree student.

She received her bachelor's degree in mechanics from Bucharest Polytechnic Institute, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

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