Professor Recognized for Support of Student in Military

Thursday, March 20, 2014
martin wosnik and military student

UNH mechanical engineering professor Martin Wosnik (right) was honored with a Patriotic Employer Award from the New Hampshire Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (NHESGR) Committee for his support of Matthew Rowell ’13G (left), who served in the Navy Reserve while doing graduate work with Wosnik.

When Matt Rowell ’13G was scheduled for an overseas training trip for the Navy Reserve in the middle of his major research project, he approached his advisor, Martin Wosnik, with trepidation. Would he need to explain the nature of his duties, and how Wosnik, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, was legally obligated to release Rowell?

He soon learned his concern was unwarranted.

“Martin stepped up as a supportive employer,” Rowell said, detailing Wosnik’s flexibility and accommodation. For that support, Rowell nominated Wosnik for a Patriotic Employer Award from New Hampshire Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (NHESGR) Committee. The Navy Lt. Commander presented his advisor with the honor at a small ceremony at the Chase Ocean Engineering building earlier this month.

Rowell’s research was a key component of a complex, Department of Energy-funded tidal energy project that involved multiple partners and stakeholders and a very strict schedule. But Wosnik, who is also associate director of the Center for Ocean Renewable Energy (CORE) at UNH, said that Rowell’s Navy experience brought more to the project than his occasional absence detracted from it.

Bob Elliott with Matthew Rowell and Martin Wosnik

Bob Elliott (center) of the New Hampshire Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Committee, joined UNH mechanical engineering professor Martin Wosnik (left) and Matthew Rowell ‘13G (right) to honor Wosnik with a Patriotic Employer Award.

“We could not have done this project to the extent we did without his Navy expertise,” Wosnik said, adding that the project produced two journal papers.

Indeed, although Rowell finished his master’s degree and graduated in May 2013, he’s continued to work as a research engineer with CORE.

Serving in the Reserve or National Guard “is a balancing act,” said Bob Elliott, retired Army Chief Warrant Officer and a volunteer with NHESGR, at the ceremony. “The employer makes a big difference.”

The NHESGR is dedicated to providing information and education to the business community on the rights and responsibilities of Guard or Reserve members who may be in their employ. In addition, NH ESGR recognizes employers who have gone above and beyond in supporting their Guard or Reserve employees, through various awards and other types of recognition.

Originally published by:

UNH Today

  • Written By:

    Staff writer | Communications and Public Affairs