The McKinney Fellowship

Chester McKinney and two fellows


Graduate Fellowship in Acoustics-Related Research

Beginning in 2006, ARL:UT has chosen 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.

About the Program

This competitive fellowship encourages students to perform acoustics-related research at the university in exchange for a stipend and payment of tuition and fees, a $3,000 cash award, and support for attending professional meetings related to their research. The selection committee of university faculty and ARL:UT researchers chooses the fellows from a pool of students in the university’s acoustics graduate program. 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. The fellowship can support up to three fellows at once.

Drawn from current acoustics graduate students, The McKinney Fellowship selection is made by a committee of acoustics professors and ARL leadership. There is no formal application process.

Dr. Chester McKinney

Chester McKinney graduated as the first physics major from East Texas State Teachers College in 1941. He taught high school science for a year before joining the army from 1942 to 1946, where he served as a radar officer in India, China, and Tinian as a member of the 58th Bomb Wing, the first B29 wing.

After WWII ended, 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 Applied Research Laboratories, The University of Texas at Austin. After graduation, he spent three years teaching 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 until his retirement in 1980. In 1955, he and four others formed one of Austin’s earliest technology companies, Texas Research Associates, which later became Tracor. Despite lucrative offers elsewhere, McKinney stayed at DRL and remained dedicated to the mission of the university. After retirement, he continued working as a consultant until his death in January 2017.

Fellowship Recipients

Degree work in progress

2014 John Cormack, ME Ph.D.
2015 Colby Cushings, ME Ph.D.
2017 Jerome Thomas, ME MS

2006 Sarah Gourlie, ME MS
2007 David Gagnon, ECE MS
2008 Derek Thomas, ME Ph.D.
2009 Kyle Spratt, ME Ph.D.
2010 Daniel Tengelson, ME MS & Ph.D.
2011 Ben Copenhaver, ME MS
2012 Stephanie Konarski, ME MS
2013 Ben Treweek, ME MS