DAGSI – Defense Associated Graduate Student Innovators – SOCHE

We develop and support world-class graduate engineering education and research programs.

The DAGSI Mission

DAGSI’s mission is to develop and support world-class graduate engineering education and research programs, thereby contributing to Ohio’s economic growth and development. DAGSI programs are designed to support several key objectives:

  • Strengthen Ohio’s academic community in engineering education and research
  • Enhance and expand graduate engineering education in Ohio
  • Encourage and support advanced research in engineering in Ohio
  • Provide skilled engineering talent to Ohio’s workforce
  • Provide financial assistance to Ohio students through fellowship programs

The DAGSI partnership effectively expands regional engineering education and research opportunities at the masters and doctoral levels. DAGSI’s ultimate objective is to support Ohio’s economic growth by strengthening the intellectual infrastructure in technology and developing engineering workforce talent.


Total Collaborative Projects Funded by DAGSI and AFRL

Since 2004 and growing!

DAGSI Graduate Success Story

Working my way through college was an interesting process. It took multiple jobs waiting tables to pay the bills while trying to stay caught up with tuition costs. I thought things would get easier when I graduated, but they didn’t. Even with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and an internship to show I had experience most companies weren’t interested once I mentioned I planned on getting a master’s degree. But, without an engineering job, I couldn’t pay for a graduate degree anyway.

I asked many of the professors at a few colleges about Graduate Research Assistantships but none had funding that wasn’t already allocated. After searching for over a year I was recommended to a professor at Wright State University with a research topic funded through DAGSI. That program enabled me to do research with The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for two years on fundamental fluid mechanics in turbines for turbomachinery applications. That research has now been used in more than 10 publications. The success of that research effort led to an opportunity to do compressor research and testing for AFRL as a career immediately following my graduate work.

I am now a Mechanical Engineer with some Aerospace Engineering responsibilities for AFRL at the Compressor Research Facility (CRF). I’ve been working in that capacity for almost two years now and am loving it.


  • Luke Wirth
    “The DAGSI program has been a great value to me during my time as a Ph.D. student. The opportunity to work at AFRL on a sustained basis complemented my experience at school (in classrooms and working closely with my advisor) by allowing me to observe how groups of researchers collaborate on scientific/engineering projects in a laboratory setting. The sponsor of this project, Christopher Woodward, has been an excellent mentor, and the opportunities to author papers with him and meet people in his network have been invaluable; several of the future opportunities I’ve applied to, have been through those connections. I was able to travel to and present my work at four conferences as a result of DAGSI funding, all of which were great learning experiences. Overall, I can say that my skills as a researcher have unquestionably improved since I began in the program, as a direct result of participation in it.”
    Luke Wirth
    Wright State University (PhD)
  • Katie Burzynski
    “DAGSI will forever be a program that makes dreams come true. I had longed for a fellowship to pursue my research and DAGSI granted my wish. DAGSI has created a network of scientists, researchers, academics, and students that are all bonded together by this opportunity. I very much appreciate the opportunity to focus solely on my research and studies without the distraction of worrying about how I will pay my bills or student loans. DAGSI facilitated my work in a national lab with the leading experts in my field. This DAGSI experience will make my resume stand-out among my peers.”
    Katie Burzynski
    University of Dayton (PhD)
  • Cogan Shimizu
    "Being a DAGSI fellow was an opportunity for me to write a proposal that drove the beginning of my academic career. The freedom of being able to choose my research agenda accelerated my track through my graduate career and has set me up for success in academia. At the time of this writing, DAGSI has funded me through 12 publications."
    Cogan Shimizu
    Wright State University (BS and MS)
  • Mick Hitchcock
    “This program continues to exceed our objectives and is bringing tangible value to AFRL.”
    Mick Hitchcock
  • C. Muratore
    “Funding these students has been a key factor in my recent promotion to Ohio Research Scholars Endowed Chair Professor. The projects have provided ‘seed’ funding for big ideas and projects relating to bigger money, including a $300k Army grant for 3 years, and numerous collaborations with Penn State, The Pennsylvania University, Northwestern, and other institutions, journal articles, invited talks at international conferences, and lasting connections with graduating students in diverse areas. The DAGSI program has connected with a number of lasting collaborators at AFRL as well and had enabled me and my students to access the equipment and expertise there.”
    C. Muratore
    University of Dayton
  • J. McNamara

    “I credit the DAGSI program by providing a bridge that has led to multiple AFOSR awards and AFRL Collaborative Centers and influx of highly talented individuals into the DOD workforce. This is achieved by fostering close collaborations with AFRL personnel that naturally lead to new, large-scale research efforts stemming from an initial DAGSI project. Here are the following grants that I can trace directly back to DAGSI projects:

    2011 AFOSR Young Investigator Award - $360,000
    2013 AFRL Collaborative Center in Structural Sciences - $3,500,000
    2013 AFRL Collaborative Center in Aeronautical Sciences - $2,500,000
    2013 DOD HPC Frontier Project w/ AFRL - $500,000
    2017 AFOSR Grant - $1,214,976

    This demonstrates the impact of DAGSI, where a relatively small initial effort leads to better understanding of a problem, ideas for solving it, and ultimately an influx of significant funds from outside the State of Ohio.

    And the most important outcome of all of this is the training of students in relevant technical areas to the DOD, many who actively carry out research in DOD agencies upon completion of their graduate studies. Several of my former students, for example, are currently employed in the Air Force Research Laboratory, Army Research Laboratory, and the Missile Defense Agency."

    J. McNamara
    The Ohio State University
  • R. Agans, 711th Human Performance Wing
    “I personally believe the DAGSI program is a great benefit for students, both early and late in their tenure. I received DAGSI funding going into the last year of my Ph.D. studies. Not only did DAGSI allow myself and the Paily lab to expand and highlight a custom model we were developing, it also enabled me to make contacts with individuals at WPAFB. These relationships opened up into an employment offer upon my graduation and having such a base has resulted in a quick advancement to my current position.”
    R. Agans, 711th Human Performance Wing

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