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ASTM International Visits Southern Methodist University

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The full attention of undergraduate and graduate engineering students was directed toward the speakers on the evening of November 9th on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. There, representatives of ASTM International made presentations on the subject of technical standards to students interested in the field of fatigue and fracture.

Setting Standards for Fatigue and Fracture

Titled "Setting Standards for Fatigue and Fracture," the session was the first of its kind that reinforced a renewed effort by ASTM International to convey the strategic importance of standardization to the future careers of university-level students. With ASTM standards development meetings under way in Dallas during the same week, the ASTM visit offered SMU students the opportunity to connect face-to-face with technical experts who are currently involved in drafting ASTM standards.

The event was coordinated with the SMU student section of the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Welcoming remarks were given by the ASME student section advisor at SMU, David A. Willis, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Hanson Lau, 2005-2006 president of the ASME student section at SMU. Approximately 20 students attended the informational session, which began at 6:30 p.m.

Following a brief overview of ASTM International given by Bob Morgan, a director in the Technical Committee Operations Division at ASTM International, two members of ASTM standards developing Committee E08 on Fatigue and Fracture addressed the room. With experience in both industry and in academia, the ASTM members provided examples of the importance of understanding standards throughout various stages of one’s professional career.

Developing Leadership Skills

The first ASTM member to speak was Markus B. Heinimann, Ph.D., technical specialist in Alcoa’s Aerospace Product Design and Analysis group and an active member of ASTM’s fatigue and fracture committee. Dr. Heinimann explained that his involvement with ASTM International as a student was inspired by his faculty advisor. He recalled presenting a paper at an ASTM symposium as a student and at the time recognizing that some of the individuals involved in the symposium were the authors of the textbooks that he had studied.

Dr. Heinimann, who holds degrees in aeronautics and astronautics and who received the Best Student Paper Award from ASTM Committee E08 in 1997 and the Keith J. Miller Young Investigator Award in 2004 from E08, says that ASTM offers opportunities to develop leadership skills outside of school or the workplace. Prior to Alcoa, Dr. Heinimann worked for Cessna Aircraft Company, where he was responsible for all durability and damage tolerance activity on the Citation Sovereign business jet; he also was an adjunct professor at the Department of Aeronautical Engineering at Wichita State University.


The SMU students also heard from Michael R. Mitchell, Ph.D., current chairman of ASTM Committee E08 on Fatigue and Fracture, editor-in-chief of ASTM’s Journal of Testing and Evaluation, and a 30-year member of ASTM International. "ASTM is the best place to meet and get to know people in your profession," said the speaker, who recalled presenting his master’s thesis at an ASTM meeting in Toronto in 1970. It was at this particular ASTM meeting that he met his Ph.D. thesis advisor-to-be, Professor JoDean Morrow.

Dr. Mitchell works as a consultant and adjunct professor for Northern Arizona University in the Mechanical Engineering Department. He holds degrees in mechanical engineering from Lawrence Technological University, metallurgical engineering from Wayne State University, and theoretical/applied mechanics from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Prior to his current position, Dr. Mitchell was employed at W.L. Gore Associates, Medical Products Division in Flagstaff, Arizona, for 25 years as senior research scientist at the Rockwell International Science Center in Thousand Oaks, California, and at Ford Motor Company, Scientific Research Staff in Dearborn, Michigan.

"Networking with peers is critical for engineers and scientists," said Dr. Heinimann, who also articulated the benefits to his employer of his involvement in ASTM International. "Volunteering within ASTM presents opportunities to review and discuss technical issues with specialists from throughout industry. ASTM provides direct access to many companies, universities, and research institutions."


For more information on education outreach at ASTM International, contact Teresa Cendrowska, director of external relations, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9718; For more information on ASTM Committee E08 on Fatigue and Fracture, contact the ASTM staff manager for Committee E08, Jeffrey Adkins: (phone: 610/832-9738; For information on student membership in ASTM International, which is free of charge, visit the ASTM Campus website at


Release #7254