New Mechanical, Aerospace Engineering Department Head Arrives at NMSU

As a young boy growing up in Taiwan, Reuy-Hung Chen watched his father, a mechanical engineer, design and build devices at home, and he was inspired to follow in those footsteps.

This semester, Chen joined the New Mexico State University College of Engineering faculty as the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department head. He said the department drew him to NMSU.

“I found the department has a relatively young and very energetic faculty that has a lot of potential of achievement in both teaching and research. The qualifications of the faculty members are excellent and they are engaged in intellectual pursuits,” he said.

Chen’s goals for the department include maintaining its leadership role in the state in both mechanical and aerospace engineering disciplines.

“The talent pool of the faculty really allows us to have and achieve such a goal. New Mexico has a very high concentration of federal research laboratories compared to many other states,” Chen said. “We should develop partnership and outreach programs with them to enhance student involvement in their activities and thus broaden students’ learning and career development and to conduct inspiring research with them.”

Since September 2012, Chen has served as the program director for the Combustion and Fire Systems Program on an Intergovernmental Personnel Act assignment at the National Science Foundation. He also has been acting director for the Thermal Transport Processes Program at NSF.

Chen arrived at NMSU after spending 22 years at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. He was an assistant professor, associate professor and most recently, a professor for 11 years in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Additionally during his tenure at UCF, Chen was an associate chair and graduate coordinator for the department.

Chen earned his doctorate and master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan in 1988 and 1984, respectively. He earned his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from National Cheng-Kung University in Taiwan in 1981.

Not only did Chen grow up watching and helping his father make contraptions such as a macaroni machine for family and friends, he also recalled being inspired by the moon landing.

“I watched on TV that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, with this interesting machine that carried him from the earth to the moon. Armstrong’s was a different kind of machine and how it worked intrigued me,” Chen said. “Aerospace engineering became one of the very few areas that I chose for my college education in Taiwan.”

For more information on NMSU’s Mechanical and Aerospace department visit

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU