UA Honors Five Distinguished Engineering Fellows

UA’s 2017 Distinguished Engineering Fellows with Dr. Charles Karr, dean (second from left).

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama College of Engineering honored five alumni by inducting them into its 2017 class of Distinguished Engineering Fellows.

Each year, the College of Engineering inducts a select group of alumni and friends as Distinguished Engineering Fellows. Recognition as a Distinguished Fellow is the highest commendation given to graduates and others who have strengthened the reputation of the College of Engineering through their efforts.

Since the recognition’s inception more than 25 years ago, fewer than 400 individuals have been recognized as Distinguished Engineering Fellows.

The 2017 class includes Pam Caruso, of Huntsville; Stephen F. Cash, of Huntsville; Gregory A. Mays, of Issaquah, Washington; Jody Singer, of Huntsville; and Mark S. Whorton, of Big Cove.

The inductees were recently honored at a ceremony at the Embassy Suites in downtown Tuscaloosa. For complete biographies of this year’s Distinguished Engineering Fellows, visit

Pam Caruso

Pam Caruso graduated with a chemical engineering degree from UA in 1980 and began her career as a research engineer for DOW Chemical. In 1995, she received a master’s degree in environment engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. For 25 years, Caruso worked with several Army organizations including the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command at Redstone Arsenal, where she worked in the Space and Missile Defense Battle Laboratory as an engineer and later as division chief of the Combat Applications Division. She then became chief of the Total Defender Program. For the last eight years of her career, Caruso worked at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in the Engineering Directorate. In January 2016, she retired.

Stephen F. Cash
Vice President of the Advanced Space Systems Division of Quantitech in Huntsville

Stephen Cash has spent the majority of his career focusing on space shuttle propulsion and safety for NASA at Marshall Space Flight Center in his native Huntsville. He started in the Structures and Propulsion Laboratory as a stress analyst. After the Challenger disaster, Cash was assigned to the Solid Rocket Booster Redesign Team. Following the space shuttle’s successful return to flight, he held multiple positions for the Redesigned Solid Rocket Motor. Then the Columbia disaster took Cash to Kennedy Space Center on a one-year assignment where he focused on return to flight launch issues. Upon returning to Marshall, Cash worked in the NASA Engineering and Safety Center and the Space Shuttle Propulsion Office. After the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program, he led the Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate at Marshall. Today, he is the vice president of the Advanced Space Systems Division of Quantitech. Cash graduated from UA in 1981 with a degree in civil engineering.

Gregory A. Mays
Vice President of Labor Relations at Alaska Airlines Inc. in Seattle, Washington

A private pilot, Gregory Mays has worked on aircrafts and for airlines since he graduated from UA in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering. Starting at Boeing in Huntsville, Mays spent six years as a design/test engineer and project manager for the International Space Station. He then spent 13 years working for Delta Air Lines in Atlanta. During this time, he earned his Master of Business Administration from Emory University. In 2011, Mays became the vice president of maintenance and engineering for Alaska Airlines in Seattle. Today, as vice president of labor relations, he is responsible for developing relationships with union leaders and representatives from five labor unions that make up 80 percent of the Alaska Airlines workforce. Mays’ son, Jeff, is a third-year aerospace engineering student at the University.

Jody Singer
Deputy Director of Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville

A career long appointment at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is a testament to how Jody Singer has dedicated her life to space exploration and research. Starting as an engineer in the professional intern program, Singer ascended the ranks and is serving as the deputy director of the research center. For more than 30 years, she has worked in several offices at Marshall including the Reusable Solid Rocket Project Office, the Space Shuttle Propulsion Office, the Ares Project Office and the Flight Programs and Partnerships Office. As deputy director of Marshall, she assists the management of one of NASA’s largest field installations. A 1983 graduate of UA, Singer earned her bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering.

Dr. Mark S. Whorton
Executive Director of the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma, Tennessee

Mark Whorton has contributed to the private and public sector as well as the world of academia. His career began at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville where he worked in flight system and advanced technology development as well as guidance, navigation and control for 15 years. Later he worked for Teledyne Brown Engineering and Teledyne Optech. Whorton transitioned to academia in 2016 by becoming the executive director of the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma, Tennessee. In this role, he provides leadership and direction for quality graduate engineering education and growth in research. Whorton studied aerospace engineering, graduating from UA with a bachelor’s degree in 1987 and a master’s degree in 1989. He later continued his education at The Georgia Institute of Technology where he earned his doctorate in 1997.


Alana Norris, engineering communications, 205/348-8644,

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.