Announcing the 2022 John and Jane Dunning Copper Fellows

September 23, 2022  — The Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics is proud to announce Vinitendra Singh and Kalpesh Jaykar as the recipients of the 2022 John and Jane Dunning Copper Fellowship.

John and Jane Copper established the fellowship to recognize the University of Minnesota’s contribution to preparing John for a successful career. In 1957, John graduated with an Aeronautical Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota. He worked at McDonnell Douglas, a major American aerospace manufacturing corporation and defense contractor, for 35 years. The John and Jane Dunning Copper Fellowship is used to acknowledging students who possess an outstanding academic record and show promise after completing their WPE’s.

Kalpesh Jaykar

Kalpesh Jaykar received his Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering from Mumbai University in 2018 and went on to complete a Master in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 2021.

He is currently working with Prof. Richard James in the AEM department where his research focuses on Light-Matter Interaction, specifically studying the effect of radiation on the objective molecular structure. The interaction of light with crystal structures has been studied in the past with well-known solutions. However, the interaction of light/radiation with "regular" structures (which are not necessarily crystal), such as objective structures, generates interesting solutions for Maxwell's equation.

Upon completion of his Ph.D., Kalpesh would like to pursue a career in academia and become a professor. He is also open to work in research centers related to the aerospace industry. 

Kalpesh would like to thank the donors of The John and Jane Dunning Copper Fellowship. “The fellowship boosted my confidence and motivated me to do even better work in my research. It feels great when you are rewarded for the hard work you put in.”  


Vinitendra Singh

Vinitendra Singh received his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in 2015.

He joined the research group of Prof. Richard James in Fall 2021 where he focuses his work on understanding the statistical mechanics of carbon nanotubes. His career goal is to contribute to increasing the knowledge pool of humanity, and stated that a career in research would help facilitate that goal.

When asked about how he felt upon receiving the Fellowship, Vinitendra said, “I am deeply honored and humbled to receive the scholarship. It certainly motivated me to achieve more. All the outstanding professors of the department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics have significant contribution to this achievement. Their excellent lectures significantly improved my understanding of complex concepts and made this possible.”