Link Foundation Fellowships Newsletter

Inside this Issue


Meet this Year's Fellowship Recipients


In honor of the Link Foundation’s upcoming 60th Anniversary in 2013, we are highlighting a few of our very first Fellowship awardees along with stories of other former Link Fellow/Interns/Scholars.  We hope you will enjoy learning more about them.



Dr. George M. Walsh, 1964 Link Ocean Engineering Fellow, retired Consulting Engineer at Raytheon Company, and he currently serves as Consultant to NAVSEA

In 1964 Dr. Walsh completed the MS degree in EE at the University of Rhode Island (URI) while working at the Submarine Signal Division of Raytheon Company.  He was then awarded the first Link Ocean Engineering Fellowship, which made it financially possible to continue in a Ph.D. EE program at URI, with a minor in physical oceanography.  After returning to the Submarine Signal Division at Raytheon Company, he continued an interest initiated at URI by developing high resolution underwater acoustic systems that were used on oceanographic ships and for the US Navy.

At Raytheon, Dr. Walsh held positions as technical director, program manager, business area director, manager of engineering, and assistant general manager for the Submarine Signal Division before becoming a Consulting Engineer, then the highest technical rank at Raytheon.  He was elected a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America after demonstrating what may have been the first practical application of finite amplitude acoustics to underwater mapping and sub bottom profiling. He has been awarded thirteen patents for underwater acoustic systems.

One particular program of interest to Dr. Walsh was to perform an experiment to measure acoustic propagation stability for synthetic aperture sonar.  Dr. Walsh, along with Dr. Andrew Clark who is now a Link Foundation Trustee, led a successful joint Raytheon and Harbor Branch program which involved installing a large underwater acoustic array built by Harbor Branch at a Navy test range off Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  During this time, Dr. Walsh renewed an acquaintance with Marilyn C. Link, whom he had previously met as a Link Fellow, in Binghamton, NY.

After retiring from Raytheon in 1994, Dr. Walsh was asked to be a consultant and subject matter expert for various mine warfare programs by NAVSEA, a position which he still holds today.

Dr. Walsh recently stated, “the Link Foundation Fellowship not only allowed me to continue my education, but it also influenced my career by exposing me to areas of interest for both oceanography and the US Navy.”


Dr. Joe Dumas, Link Foundation Advanced Simulation and Training Fellowships Selection Committee Member, 1991 Link Foundation Fellow in Advanced Simulation and Training, and he currently serves as Professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

While earning his PhD in Computer Engineering from the University of Central Florida (UCF) in the early 1990s, Dr. Joe Dumas received the very first Link Foundation Fellowship in Advanced Simulation and Training. The fellowship, which celebrates Edwin Link’s ground-breaking pilot training simulator, supported Dr. Dumas’ doctoral research in measuring and compensating for transport delays in a computer-based driving simulator. After working as a graduate assistant in UCF’s Computer Engineering Department and in the Visual Systems Laboratory at the Institute for Simulation and Training (IST), Dr. Dumas completed his degree in 1993 and pursued an academic career at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC).

Dr. Dumas followed the tenure track at UTC, being promoted to Associate Professor in 1999 and to full Professor in 2005. Along the way, he published several papers related to simulation and virtual reality. He also spent four summers (1996, 1997, 2000, and 2001) working with real-time simulators and human-computer interfaces in the virtual reality laboratory at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.  In addition to teaching, scholarship, and service, Dr. Dumas served in administrative roles at UTC including Acting Head of the Computer Science and Engineering Department (2007-08) and Special Assistant to the Dean of the Graduate School (2008-10).

He had the opportunity to “give back” to the Link Foundation in 2001 when he was invited to serve on the Selection Committees for the Simulation and Training Research and Development Grants and the Advanced Simulation and Training Fellowships. He has continued to serve on the Advanced Simulation and Training Fellowship Selection Committee ever since, helping to choose over 40 recipients of the same award he received as a doctoral candidate.

Dr. Dumas recently stated, “Being chosen for the Link Foundation Fellowship was not only a great honor, but also a huge boost to my academic career.  Because of the support so generously provided by the Link Foundation, I was able to complete my research and write my dissertation in a timely manner without having to worry about paying my rent and keeping food on the table. I am convinced it also helped me stand out among many other applicants as I sought, and found, the rewarding university faculty position that had been my goal throughout graduate school.  I have done my best to do credit to Edwin Link’s legacy in my professional career, and I consider it a great privilege to be able to give something back, in a small way, to the Link Foundation by helping to select a new generation of Link Fellows to carry on the proud tradition of excellence.”


Dr. Lee R. Lynd, Special Advisor to the Link Foundation Board, Link Foundation Energy Fellowship Program Administrator, 1984 Link Foundation Energy Fellow, and he currently serves as the Paul and Joan Queneau Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Adjunct Professor of Biology at Dartmouth College, Director and Chief Scientific Officer of Mascoma Corporation, Focus Area Leader for Biomass Deconstruction and Conversion at the Department of Energy Bioenergy Science Center, Initiator and Executive Committee Coordinator of the Global Sustainable Bioenergy Project, and Professor Extraordinary of Microbiology at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Dr. Lynd was a Link Foundation Energy Fellow during the first year that Energy Fellowships were offered in 1984.  "The Fellowship came at a time when I did not have support for my graduate work," stated Dr. Lynd.  "Thus for me, the Link Fellowship was an important factor in letting me pursue my vision for a thesis involving cellulosic biofuels."

Dr. Lynd has followed this vision for his entire professional life.  Today he is the Paul and Joan Queneau Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Adjunct Professor of Biology at Dartmouth College, Director and Chief Scientific Officer of Mascoma Corporation, Focus Area Leader for Biomass Deconstruction and Conversion at the Department of Energy Bioenergy Science Center, Initiator and Executive Committee Coordinator of the Global Sustainable Bioenergy Project, and Professor Extraordinary of Microbiology at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. 

Dr. Lynd is a leading expert on utilization of plant biomass for production of energy, with distinctively broad contributions spanning the science, technology, and policy domains, including leading research on fundamental and biotechnological aspects of microbial cellulose utilization.  A frequently invited presenter on technical and strategic aspects of biomass energy, Dr. Lynd has three times testified before the United States Senate, and has been featured in prominent fora such as Wired, Forbes, Nova, and the Nobel Conference.

The Link Foundation was among the first to recognize Dr. Lynd, but hardly the last.  Dr. Lynd  is the 2011 recipient of the Mines Medal of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for contributions to engineering or science, and prestigious contributions toward resolution or understanding of the technological challenges that impact society, the inaugural recipient of the Lemelson-MIT Sustainability Prize, recipient of the Charles D. Scott Award for distinguished contributions to the field of biotechnology for fuels and chemicals, and two-time recipient of the Charles A. Lindbergh Award in recognition of efforts to promote a balance between environmental preservation and technological advancement.

Commenting on his involvement with the Link Foundation, Dr. Lynd observes, "As Administrator of the Link Foundation’s Energy Fellowship program, I am delighted and honored to be able to play a part in supporting graduate students in the critically important energy field.  I take particular pleasure in knowing that receipt of a Link Fellowship may enable young researchers to pursue their dream as it did for me.  I only wish we could give more fellowships.  These days, we are getting about 100 of the strongest applicants in North America and we only award 3 fellowships, although many more are deserving.  I would be delighted to find ways to bring more funds to this outstanding program."


Dr. Carolyn Q. Judge, 1999 Link Foundation Fellow in Ocean Engineering and Instrumentation, and she currently serves as Assistant Professor of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering at the Unites States Naval Academy

Carolyn currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering at the United States Naval Academy.  She received her BS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 1996 from Cornell University, her MSE in 1997 and her PhD in 2000 both in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan.  Her graduate work was supported through a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship and she was one of two PhD students in 1999 to be awarded one of the very first Link Foundation Ocean Engineering and Instrumentation Fellowships. Her thesis focused on planing boat stability and hydrodynamics under her advisor, Professor Armin Troesch.

She has been working at the US Naval Academy since 2002, starting a tenure-track position in the Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering Department in the fall of 2010. In 2012 she received an Office of Naval Research’s Young Investigator Award.  Her current research interests are focused on the dynamics of planing boats in the transverse plane and the hydrodynamics of wave impacts for hydrodynamically-supported rigid bodies.

Regarding her Link Foundation Fellowship, Dr. Judge recently stated, “The Link Foundation’s Fellowship allowed me to complete my thesis research on transverse planing hull stability, specifically looking at asymmetric water impact.  Without the Fellowship support, I would not have been able to complete my thesis.  The Link Foundation also provided the opportunity to attend a workshop with other researchers in the field of naval hydrodynamics and I learned a great deal about what other types of research were being conducted in the area of planing hull hydrodynamics.  As I was starting my research program at the Naval Academy, I found there were many questions still unanswered with respect to the field of the transverse stability of planing hulls. Thanks to the support that the Link Foundation provided, I was able to use my prior work as a starting point for my current research program.  Once again, I am working on understanding the dynamic instabilities involved with planing hulls.  The Link Foundation’s support provided me with the opportunity to continue with my research and to make important connections that continue to help my research and career today.”


Dr. Alexandra H. Techet, 1999 Link Foundation Fellow in Ocean Engineering and Instrumentation, and she currently serves as Associate Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Director of their Experimental Hydrodynamics Laboratory

In 1999, Alexandra (Alex) was a recipient of the Link Foundation Fellowship in Ocean Engineering and Instrumentation, the inaugural year of the Fellowship. 

Dr. Techet currently serves as an Associate Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering (with tenure), in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and she is the director of MIT’s Experimental Hydrodynamics Laboratory (EHL).  Her group’s research, in experimental hydrodynamics, has made important contributions to several key areas including light field imaging for fluid mechanics, 3D multi-phase flow imaging, spray hydrodynamics, water entry of spheres and projectiles, flow structure interactions, unsteady bio-inspired propulsion and maneuvering, and sensing at the air/sea interface. 

Dr. Techet received her BSE degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 1995 from Princeton University.  She graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanographic Engineering with a MS degree in 1998 and her PhD in 2001.  During her doctoral studies, in addition to the Link Foundation’s Fellowship, she received the prestigious United States Department of Defense’s National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship, and later was a recipient of the 2004 Office of Naval Research’s Young Investigator Award.  She also holds a guest appointment at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and works with researchers there to develop oceangoing instrumentation. 

Dr. Techet’s research in the area of experimental hydrodynamics aims to address long-standing hydrodynamics problems faced by the US Navy and the ocean science and engineering communities through rigorous experimental investigation and imaging.  Dr. Techet’s work has been recognized several times (2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011) by the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics Gallery of Fluid Motion and has been featured on the cover of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics.



Dr. Donna F. Wilt, Special Advisor to the Link Foundation Board of Trustees, Link Foundation Advanced Simulation and Training Fellowship Program Administrator, 1995 Link Fellow in Advanced Simulation and Training, and she currently serves as Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Aeronautics at Florida Institute of Technology

Dr. Wilt has a lifelong passion for aviation and engineering.  She was first able to pursue this passion when she worked with aircraft simulators at NASA Langley Research Center while completing a BS in electrical engineering at the University of Florida.  She worked on programs to apply the technology from military and airline simulations to the smaller aircraft used in general aviation operations.  Here she developed a lifelong goal of making flying safer overall, while taking advantage of the safe and less expensive environment of a device that simulates the relevant aspects of the aircraft and environment.

As her career progressed, Dr. Wilt found herself drawn more to the training aspects of aviation as opposed to engineering design.  She eventually become an Air Transport Pilot, Master Certified Flight Instructor, and Gold Seal Flight Instructor focusing on the beginning, or ab-initio, pilot training.  The advent of the personal computer opened new opportunities for creating flight training devices (FTD) that were substantially more capable but less expensive than in the past thereby making it available to a segment of aviation where simulators had previously not been cost effective.

At the time she was ready to pursue a doctorate, there were no PhD programs in the US in aeronautics or flight training so she pursued a PhD in Science Education at Florida Institute of Technology.  Dr. Wilt’s PhD research was on the forefront of how to teach higher-order cognitive skills, such as situation awareness and decision making, to beginning pilots using low-cost FTDs.

Dr. Wilt explained, “the Science Education Department was doing research in computer-based training, but had not done research in the area of flight training.  The Link Foundation’s Advanced Simulation and Training Fellowship gave me the freedom and ability to pursue an area of research that aligned with my passion for aviation and my goal of making aviation safer.”

Dr. Wilt holds a BS degree from the University of Florida, a MS degree in Electrical Engineering and a PhD degree in Science Education from Florida Institute of Technology.

Today, Dr. Wilt is Associate Dean of the College of Aeronautics at Florida Institute of Technology where they offer bachelor, masters, and will soon offer doctorate aviation programs that integrate simulators and advanced flight training devices into the flight training programs and the applied aviation research.

She served on the Link Foundation’s Advanced Simulation and Training Fellowship Selection Committee prior to becoming the Fellowship Program Administrator in 2012.  She is proud to participate in selecting the newest Advanced Simulation and Training Fellows.


Ms. Cyndee Finkel, 2009 Link Fellow in Ocean Engineering and Instrumentation, and she is a PhD candidate at Florida Atlantic University

Ms. Cyndee Finkel was selected to receive a Link Fellowship in Ocean Engineering and Instrumentation in 2009, while pursuing a PhD in the Physics Department at Florida Atlantic University (FAU).   During her time as a Link Fellow, Cyndee worked with Dr. Karl von Ellenrieder at FAU’s SeaTech campus, on a project examining the dynamics involved in the locomotion of swimming and flying systems.  Her time as a Link Fellow afforded her the ability to focus on research results which were then presented at the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics annual conference.

Ms. Finkel recently stated, “I was lucky to have had the benefit and honor of getting to know Ms. Marilyn Link, Dr. Andrew Clark, as well as the rest of the Link Foundation Board.  I am astounded at the level of care and guidance that they put into all of their fellowship recipients and interns.  I look forward to being a contributing member, in the future, to ensure more students experience this wonderful opportunity.”

Ms. Finkel is currently finishing her dissertation and hopes to continue to pursue original research in the next phase of her career.


Dr. Jill Schukert Osborne,* 1994 Summer Intern at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, and she currently serves as a full-time inpatient Pharmacist and Neonatal ICU Pharmacist at an Atlanta-area hospital, in addition to serving as a relief Clinical Pharmacist at another metro-area hospital

Dr. Osborne was selected to be a Link Summer Intern at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) in 1994.  During her Summer Internship, she worked under the direction of Dr. Amy Wright in the Division of Biomedical Marine Research and Dr. John Scarpa in Aquaculture. 

Dr. Osborne came to HBOI with a BS in Biology but wasn't sure, at that time, what direction she wanted to pursue.  Dr. Osborne always loved Biology (particularly Marine Science), Chemistry, and lab work, but she loved to be outdoors and was eager to do fieldwork.  She recently stated, “My summer internship at HBOI really allowed me to get my feet wet -- pardon the pun -- since I got to have a role in culturing and harvesting tunicate colonies (field work) and purifying and extracting the novel anti-tumor compound they produced (lab work).”

Following her Summer Internship at HBOI, Dr. Osborne’s career path diverged away from Marine Science and more toward Pharmaceutical Science/Health Care, although she clarified that this decision was not for lack of love for Marine Science but more for practical reasons.  She subsequently earned a PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy degree) from the University of Georgia in 2003.  Dr. Osborne now works full-time at an Atlanta-area hospital where she splits her time as an inpatient Pharmacist and at the Neonatal ICU’s satellite pharmacy.  In addition to her full-time job, she works part-time at another metro-area hospital as a relief Clinical Pharmacist.

Dr. Osborne stated, “I will forever value my time at Harbor Branch – from both a scientific perspective and a personal one.  Even though I strayed away from Marine Science as a career, I often joke that I only chose Pharmacy as a way to support my ‘outdoor habit.’  In my free time, I can still be found exploring marine environments via snorkel, SCUBA, and kayak.  My summer at HBOI was one of the best times of my life, and I will be forever grateful for the experience.” 


Dr. M. A. (Mike) Schukert,* 1974 Link Foundation Grant to Advance Training and Education in Aeronautics, and he is currently a retired faculty member from Middle Tennessee State University

Dr. Schukert graciously provided this testimonial which he entitled, “An Appreciative Look Back…Way Back!”

My association with Link’s aeronautical, scientific, and energy initiatives began in 1966 shortly after separating from the Air Force.  At the time, I was a GI Bill commercial pilot trainee and spent untold anxious hours in a World War II vintage Link Trainer.   Little did I realize that the organization that evolved from Edwin A. Link’s monumental accomplishments would one day provide financial support for my education.

Fast forward to 1974 and I’m now 34 years old, a married father of two and working as Chief of the Montana Aeronautics Commission’s Aviation and Space Education Bureau.   Although aeronautically qualified, my age put me at a competitive disadvantage in the professional pilot job market.   Forced to confront reality head-on, it occurred to me that my future might be brighter in academia than on the flight deck.   Upon learning that a number of institutions offered an aviation-related degree program, my career focus shifted to becoming a collegiate aviation educator.   Realizing that a doctorate degree would enhance my future hiring prospects, and although it would be a financial struggle, I decided to enroll in a doctoral program in higher education curriculum and instruction at Ohio University.   

Thanks to the GI Bill, supportive in-laws, and a Link Foundation grant made possible through the efforts of my doctoral committee chairman, Dr. Milton Ploghoft, most, but not all, of my financial concerns were addressed.   Whereupon Dr. Ploghoft mentioned that he was well acquainted with a member of the Link Foundation board, the late Dr. Frank Sorenson, and suggested that I contact him regarding Link Foundation financial assistance.   Shortly thereafter, Dr. Sorenson visited Ohio University to learn more about my research interests and academic career aspirations.   Long story short, thanks to the Dr. Sorenson and the Link Foundation, I was able to complete my PhD requirements relatively financially worry-free.    
I haven’t the slightest doubt that being a Link Foundation Scholar strengthened my academic and professional credibility in the eyes of future employers and my resume.  And, if comments made during subsequent faculty hiring interviews are any indication, my association with the Link Foundation played a significant role in obtaining professorships at Embry Riddle, Ohio State, and Middle Tennessee State University.   I retired in 2000 from Middle Tennessee State University after a 20-plus year collegiate aviation career. 

*NoteDr. M. A. (Mike) Schukert is the proud father of Dr. Jill Schukert Osborne


The Link Foundation is proud to have made a difference in the lives and careers of many including Dr. Walsh, Dr. Dumas, Dr. Lynd, Dr. Judge, Dr. Techet, Dr. Wilt, Ms. Finkel, Dr. Osborne, and Dr. Schukert.  We count it a privilege and honor to continue our association with them today.

We are proud of all of our Link Fellows/Interns/Scholars, and are especially proud of the vital contributions that they have made and continue to make in the advancement of simulation and training, ocean engineering and instrumentation, and energy resources development and conservation, throughout their careers.  These discoveries are increasingly valuable to the world in which we live and significantly impact the advancement and security of our nation in important ways. 

If you are or were a Link Fellow/Intern/Scholar, we would love to hear from you!  Please write to us!  We would be honored to tell your story on our page!