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Nick Dillon recognized with ASME ICEF Research Award and admitted to AFCS Pathway Program upon graduation

Nick Dillon

Nick Dillon is a Warner Robins, Georgia, native who is anything but average. 

Dillon is on track to graduate magna cum laude from Georgia Southern University’s Honors College in May as a Goel Scholar with a degree in mechanical engineering. He won one of two prestigious American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Internal Combustion Engine Forward (ICEF) Conference undergraduate research awards from entries nationwide. 

Dillon’s research paper, “Investigations of Low-Reactivity X-98 Ethanol in Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition with High-Reactivity Jet-A for Performance and Emissions Improvement,” was presented at the conference.

“I was on vacation and I checked my email and it was an email of congratulations from ASME ICEF, and I was totally blown away because I wasn’t expecting it,” said Dillon.

The conference hosts leading researchers and major companies in the combustion industry where they discuss research and what’s next in the field.

“I was excited and a little nervous when I presented to that audience full of industry experts, but that award goes a long way toward my career plans,” said Dillon. “I made some great connections and they offered me some interesting opportunities in internships and research programs.”

The dedication of the attendees kindled more excitement for Dillon to continue his research. 

“Everyone was so passionate about the greenhouse gasses reduction technologies field because there is so much involved,” said Dillon. “There’s chemistry, there’s mechanics, there’s systems and even mechatronics, the blending of mechanical and electrical systems.”

Awards aren’t new to Dillon. He was also selected as a member of last summer’s Department of Defense – National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates paid engineering research program at Georgia Southern, where he continued his award-winning research under the direction of Valentin Soloiu, Ph.D., the Allen E. Paulson Distinguished Chair of Renewable Energy and a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. 

“Nick is a great example of the outstanding research conducted in our Aerospace Laboratory,” said Soloiu. “In the last two years he has produced three research papers under my supervision. Many of our students win research awards and have positions offered to them well before graduation.”

Dillon has a unique job waiting for him when he graduates. The Air Force Civilian Services pathway program simultaneously pays for graduate school and a full-time job back in his hometown of Warner Robins. He will work as a civilian at Warner Robins Air Force Base for the first year. Then he will get his master’s degree in just one year while still receiving his AFCS salary. Finally, he’ll return for another year as a regular AFCS employee.” 

Dillon is thankful for the research mentorship he has received in the last two years from Soloiu and his experiences at Georgia Southern.

“Georgia Southern is a very special place because you get to do undergraduate research that shows commitment and actual results” said Dillon. “That shows that I can work hard and my research is interesting and effective. I think that is a tangible way to prove that I am actually in research and doing things and producing things instead of just being in the lab, unlike students elsewhere.”


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