The McKinney Graduate Fellowships

The McKinney Fellowship Program.

ARL:UT selects talented graduate students interested in studying acoustics to receive The McKinney Fellowship, named in honor of Chester McKinney, who served as ARL:UT’s director from 1965 to 1980.

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McKinney Fellowship Program

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About the Program

This competitive fellowship encourages students to perform acoustics-related research at the university in exchange for a compensation package that includes a stipend and payment of tuition and fees, a $3,000 cash award, and support for attending professional meetings related to their research.

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Selection Process

There is no formal application process. A selection committee of university faculty and ARL:UT researchers chooses fellows from a pool of students in the university’s acoustics graduate program, and a faculty member associated with ARL:UT supervises the dissertation or thesis of the McKinney Fellow. Other ARL:UT research staff may also be appointed to the student’s thesis or dissertation research committee.

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Dr. Chester McKinney

Chester McKinney graduated as the first physics major from East Texas State Teachers College in 1941. During World War II, he served as a radar officer in India, China, and Tinian as a member of the 58th Bomb Wing, the first B29 wing.

McKinney earned a master’s and doctorate in physics from The University of Texas at Austin. During graduate school, he worked in the Department of Physics and at the Defense Research Laboratory (DRL), which later became ARL:UT. After graduation, he taught at Texas Tech before returning to DRL to develop a program in high-resolution minehunting sonar. He became the assistant director, associate director, and finally, director of ARL:UT until his retirement in 1980. He was a founder of one of Austin’s earliest technology companies, Texas Research Associates, which later became Tracor. Dr McKinney was dedicated to the mission of the university and continued working as a consultant at ARL:UT until his death in January 2017.

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McKinney Fellows

Dr. Charles McKinney with two McKinney fellows
Dr. Charles McKinney in 2011 with past McKinney Fellows Dr. Kyle Spratt and Dr. Daniel Tengelsen.

Current McKinney Fellows

Degree work in progress
2017 Thomas Jerome, ME Ph.D.
2018 Blake Simon, ME Ph.D.
2019 William Willis, ME Ph.D.
2020 Barrett Neath, ME M.S.
2021 Chirag Gokani, ME Ph.D.

Past McKinney Fellows

2006 Sarah Gourlie, ME M.S.
2007 David Gagnon, ECE M.S.
2008 Derek Thomas, ME Ph.D.
2009 Kyle Spratt, ME Ph.D.
2010 Daniel Tengelson, ME Ph.D.
2011 Ben Copenhaver, ME M.S.
2012 Stephanie Konarski, ME M.S.
2013 Ben Treweek, ME Ph.D.
2014 John Cormack, ME Ph.D.
2015 Colby Cushing, ME Ph.D.

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About the Banner

Dr. Chester McKinney speaks at the retirement of Dr. Claude Horton in 1978. Horton came to work at ARL:UT in 1945, also serving as a physics professor and eventually chair of the UT Physics Department.

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