CDT King SAMECadet Isaac King is presented the Society of American Military Engineers Award by LTC Stephen Skells.Mechanical engineering senior and ROTC Cadet Isaac King recently received the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Award. The award was established by the U.S. Army to provide recognition of meritorious achievement to a select few outstanding military engineering students from across the nation.

“Cadet King is one of our top cadets in ROTC,” says LTC Stephen Skells, Professor of Military Science at UAB. “For this award, he beat out stiff competition from students at West Point and other top schools.”

King, a native of Dothan, Alabama, says a career in the armed forces had been a lifelong dream before enrolling at UAB. “I remember making a comment about going to Officer Candidate School after I finished my degree, and my dad suggested ROTC,” King recalls. After looking into his options, King applied for an ROTC scholarship—and received much more than that.

SAME Cert webIn his time at UAB, King has earned multiple scholarships, including the Golden Excellence scholarship, an Army ROTC scholarship, and the Francis J. Dupuis scholarship. In 2016, he was inducted into the Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Honor Society and was hand-selected as UAB’s intern to the Huntsville Cyber Program. In a letter of nomination, Skells cited these awards as well as King’s “tremendous physical performance.”

“In 2015, Cadet King earned the Superior Cadet Award for his top standing in ROTC as well as graduating the physically and mentally demanding Air Assault School as the Distinguished Honor Graduate,” Skells writes.

All of this was accomplished while simultaneously mastering a grueling engineering course load and keeping up with the demands of a vigorous training schedule. “ROTC is a great complement to the engineering curriculum,” King says. “As engineering students, we spend a lot of time in the library working our brains, and then ROTC gets me outside exercising. Focusing throughout the day is always easier when I’ve gotten some good physical training in that morning. ROTC also forces you to learn self-discipline, and that really helps when it’s time to sit down and knock out homework.”

That discipline has paid off. In his nomination letter, School of Engineering Dean Iwan Alexander, Ph.D., writes that King “has demonstrated outstanding professional skill, knowledge, and leadership. His senior thesis concerns the validation of two computational fluid dynamics approaches to the calculation of low-speed flows associated with small drones. It is part of a larger project underway at UAB that is funded by the U.S. Army CREATE-AV program.”

Upon graduating, King says he plans to commission into the Alabama National Guard as an aviation officer. “I want to go work for an aerospace engineering company, complete a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, and build my flight hours until I can apply for Boeing’s test-pilot program,” he says. “A long-range ‘crazy’ goal is to be an astronaut.”

Considering his achievements so far, the goal may not be so crazy. Skells writes, “Isaac King’s actions and conduct are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect distinct credit upon himself, the university, and the United States Army ROTC.”

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UAB Department of Mechanical Engineering