CETA's Ivana Milanovic Recognized for Her 20-Plus-Year Commitment Toward Student Success

Headshot portrait of Professor Milanovic smiling.

Ivana Milanovic, PhD, is a professor of mechanical engineering at the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA). She recently received the 2022 Roy E. Larsen Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the 2022 American Society for Engineering Education Northeast (ASEE NE) Section Outstanding Teacher Award. She is an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Fellow and an elected member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.

Milanovic started working at the University of Hartford in 2001, blending her passion for teaching and engineering. The small class sizes allowed her to devote individual attention to every student and get to know them. “It’s fun to interact with young people eager to learn and observe how they develop. You carry the students on, and they carry you on,” she says.

Students appreciate Milanovic’s expertise and often approach her for advice on how to start their research. “I am always willing to work on extra-curricular activities that facilitate student learning and help students apply for additional scholarship and grant funding,” she explains.

In fact, UHart’s turbomachinery lab was developed by Milanovic and 16 undergraduate and four graduate students over the course of four years. The original equipment was donated by United Technologies Research Center, and students completely disassembled and refurbished both the water table and the wind tunnel to bring them to full functionality. This and other hands-on projects offer students an invaluable experience in preparation for entry into the workforce. Milanovic says that “engineering is very practical, so having great equipment helps to physically demonstrate complex concepts and processes.”


"It’s fun to interact with young people eager to learn and observe how they develop. You carry the students on, and they carry you on."

Dr. Ivana Milanovic, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, CETA

While the Roy E. Larsen Award acknowledges Milanovic’s commitment to student success over the past 21 years, the ASEE NE recognized Milanovic for her pedagogical innovations achieved through the integration of simulations, applications, and inquiry-based learning in the engineering courses. These innovations provide an egalitarian and unrestricted way for all students to interact early and frequently with the complexities of the real world, developing modern computational skills, instructor-student bonds, and appreciation for the profession.

Milanovic’s educational efforts include making a case for simulations to become a fundamental component of every aspiring engineer’s academic experience. This May, she is an invited speaker at the Simulation World 2022 conference, as part of the ‘How Academia is Shaping the Future’ track. Her presentation will outline the systematic approach to simulation-supported teaching and learning across the undergraduate engineering curriculum. 

In addition to teaching, Milanovic has ongoing research programs in vortical flows, computational fluid dynamics, multiphysics modeling, and inquiry-based learning.

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