Rakesh K. Kapania, the Norris and Laura Mitchell Professor of Aerospace Engineering in the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, will receive the Outstanding Aerospace Engineer award by Purdue University's School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at a ceremony to  be held Sept. 26.

The school has recognized the professional contributions of aeronautics and astronautic engineering alumni since 1999. Recipients must demonstrate excellence in industry, academia, governmental service, or other endeavors reflecting the value of an aerospace engineering degree.

Kapania, who came to Virginia Tech in 1985, is internationally known for his research expertise of structures and materials, focusing primarily on the finite element analysis of nonlinear analysis of plates and shells, shape sensitivity analysis of aerolastic response, statistical analysis of structures, and neural networks and genetic algorithms.

"This award places Dr. Kapania among the most renowned and distinguished leaders in our field, including NASA center directors and astronauts, industry CEO's and vice presidents, and university professors," said Eric Paterson, Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Marine Propulsion and head of the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech. "Only 139 awards have been presented to more than 7,000 alumni in Purdue's program which is among the top ranked programs in the world."

Kapania, the director of the Air Force Research Laboratory-Virginia Tech-Wright State University Collaborative Center on Multidisciplinary Sciences, is developing and improving the future of aerospace vehicles (FAVs). In existence since 2009, the center has investigated aircraft such as the joined-wing SensorCraft, flapping micro-air vehicles, and supersonic long-range strike aircraft.

Kapania has served an appointment as a Boeing-Welliver Fellow, received the College of Engineering Dean's Award for Excellence in Research in 2000 and in 2010, and has served twice as associate editor of the Journal of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has advised more than 75 graduate students and authored or co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed archival journal papers and approximately 250 conference proceedings papers.

A first generation college graduate, he completed his Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering at Purdue University; his master's degree at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India; and his bachelor's degree at Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh, India.