2002 Award Recipients
AAAS Award for International Scientific Cooperation
L. S. “SKIP” FLETCHER
This year’s recipient of the AAAS Award for International Scientific Cooperation is Dr. L.S. “Skip” Fletcher. He is honored for his continuous development of engineering programs and curricula across national boundaries that provide networks of collaboration among scientists worldwide.
Dr. L.S. “Skip” Fletcher received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University in 1958 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force (USAF). He then served as a research scientist at NASA Ames Research Center and as a member of the USAF. Upon completing his military commitment, he continued to work at NASA and attended Stanford University, receiving his master’s degree in mechanical engineering. In 1968, he completed his doctorate in mechanical engineering at Arizona State University. Since then, he has held faculty positions at Arizona State University, Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, and he returned to Texas A&M in 1980 as a professor of mechanical engineering and associate dean of the College of Engineering. In January 1999, Fletcher was appointed director for aerospace, NASA Ames Research Center, where he oversees 650 technical staff in four divisions and three program offices.
Fletcher’s current international endeavors include developing a School of Engineering at the American University of Sharjah, for the Emirate of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates. It is the first coeducational Muslim academic institution in the region. In Saudi Arabia, he continues to serve as a member of a review committee for the engineering and science programs at King Faud University of Petroleum and Materials, assisting with curriculum and faculty development.
And since 1981, he has directed an engineering exchange program between the Ruhr University in Germany and Texas A&M University. More than 130 German students have participated, and many of them believe it was an defining moment in their careers. Further, he has organized student exchanges with the Technical University of Budapest, Hungary.Through direct involvement with several World Bank studies, Fletcher has helped raise the professional level of educational programs in China, Indonesia, and Russia, among other countries.Together with a colleague, Fletcher developed a graduate education program in petroleum engineering for the Colombian National Oil Company. A number of these students were awarded the equivalent of a U.S. master’s degree, and petroleum production for the company increased as a result. His reach and influence have been felt worldwide.
The Ruhr University appointed Fletcher honorary professor and the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan named him visiting professor. He serves as the chair of the Executive Committee for the International Center for Heat and Mass Transfer. He is a fellow of AAAS, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Society of Mechanical Engineering, the Accreditation Board for Engineering Education, the American Astronautical Society, the International Center for Heat and Mass Transfer, the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (United Kingdom), the Institution of Engineers (Australia), and the Royal Aeronautical Society (United Kingdom).