A New Joy for Mechanical Engineering

Assistant professor Aaron Joy helps build fluid mechanics program

Aaron Joy. Submitted photo

Aaron Joy has studied continuum mechanics and computational mathematics with a passion for several years. He and his research skills in these subjects recently found a new home at the University of Mississippi as a tenure-track assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

Joy teaches courses in topics such as statics, mechanics of materials, fluid mechanics, analysis and finite elements. He said the response from his students has shown him he’s in the right place.

“I usually get good teaching evaluations, but for my first semester at Ole Miss, I had around two dozen students (anonymously) tell me that I’m the best teacher they have had, and am what made their education in quarantine worthwhile,” Joy said. “Absolutely the best moment in my career.”

Joy stood “head and shoulders” above all other applicants for the position, said Arunachalam (“Dr. Raj”) Rajendran, chair and professor of mechanical engineering. 

“Dr. Joy’s expertise and exceptional teaching and research skills had already made him a rising star in his field,” Rajendran said. “I knew that if he accepted the position at Ole Miss, he would be a great asset to our department and its students. I’m truly glad that he has become part of the faculty and is continuing to advance his career here.”

A native of Fredonia, Kansas, Joy earned both his undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Kansas. He briefly worked in the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory before coming to academia.

“Besides landing a tenure-track position, I have been most satisfied by the work I did while I was finishing my Ph.D.,” Joy said. “Not necessarily my research work, but the extra work I did in my lab. There I oversaw other students, was involved with half-a-dozen research projects unrelated to my dissertation and helped my adviser write and publish four textbooks. It certainly feels good to be such a key part of so much productivity.”

Joy’s short-term goal is to keep enjoying what he does.

“I know pre-tenure positions tend to be stressful, but I’m here because I love this work, and I don’t want to spoil that by worrying too much,” he said. “In the long term, I want to establish a competitive program that can attract good scholars and consistently produce quality research.”

Joy said his research interests are primarily theoretical work.

“Some of the projects I’m working on now are improved modeling of damage in impact situations, and fundamental descriptions for mixtures of fluids and solids,” Joy said.

Joy and his wife, Ande, have two sons, Harrison and Graham.

“Between social distancing and caring for a newborn, we’re trapped at home,” he said. “When things are settled down, we enjoy gardening, nature trips and travel.  My wife and son especially like visiting my parents’ farm in Kansas.”