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First Ph.D. Students Graduate from Embry-Riddle’s Aviation and Engineering Physics Degree Programs

Commencement Ceremonies Scheduled for Daytona Beach, Prescott Campuses

December 6, 2013


When 535 Embry-Riddle students graduate in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., ceremonies this month, the university will reach a proud milestone — eight of those students will be the University’s first-ever Ph.D. graduates.

Ranging in age from 26 to 57, five of the Ph.D. students earned a Ph.D. in Aviation and three earned a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics.

Both programs were launched in 2010 to satisfy the demand for research skills that enable professionals in a variety of positions to approach problems in a more scientific manner, have a greater impact on their industry and advance in their careers.

“We are proud of the high level of research that our Ph.D. students have performed,” said Dr. Richard Heist, chief academic officer of the university’s Daytona Beach Campus, where the Ph.D. in Engineering Physics is offered. “They chose dissertation topics that either added to the body of knowledge of their discipline or that directly related to the solution of real-world challenges in the aviation, aerospace and engineering industries.”

Ph.D. in Aviation

Embry-Riddle’s Ph.D. in Aviation is the first of its kind in the nation. Degree seekers can choose one of three specializations: Aviation Safety & Human Factors, Operations or Intradisciplinary. The degree program is delivered primarily online at this time but may be offered at one of the university’s residential campuses in Daytona Beach or Prescott in the future.

The following individuals have earned the Ph.D. in Aviation:

Carolina Anderson

Carolina Anderson

Dr. Carolina Anderson studied the effects of aircraft certification rules on general aviation accidents in her dissertation. She joined Embry-Riddle’s Flight Department in 2000, becoming a flight instructor, standards check pilot and training manager. Dr. Anderson is now an assistant professor of aeronautical science at the university’s Daytona Beach Campus.

David Freiwald

David Freiwald

Dr. David Freiwald examined the impact of an immediate supervisor’s ethical leadership and organizational safety culture on rates of occupational injuries. He was director of safety for a multinational flight training organization before joining Embry-Riddle, where he is now an assistant professor of aerospace and occupational safety at the Daytona Beach Campus.

Benjamin Goodheart

Benjamin Goodheart

Dr. Benjamin “B.J.” Goodheart focused on the prediction of runway incursion risk, assisted by funding from the Transportation Research Board. He is the director of aviation safety and claims management for AirSure Limited and teaches aviation safety online for Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus.

Robert Joslin

Robert Joslin

Dr. Robert “Buck” Joslin assessed the latest technology that alerts pilots when two aircraft are on the same runway. He was previously a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and a military/FAA test pilot. He is now the FAA’s chief scientific and technical advisor for flight deck technology as well as an adjunct instructor of aerodynamics for Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.

William Tuccio

William Tuccio

Dr. William Tuccio used his dissertation to test a low-cost method for novice pilots to learn crew resource management skills. A former computer programmer and airline captain, he now works for the National Transportation Safety Board as an aerospace engineer in the Vehicle Recorders Division of the Office of Research & Engineering.

Ph.D. in Engineering Physics

This Ph.D. program blends theoretical physics with practical engineering applications and problem-solving with a focus on space. It builds on Embry-Riddle’s undergraduate and master’s degrees in Engineering Physics and on the university’s solid program of space research funded by NASA, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Air Force, among others.  It is currently offered at the Daytona Beach Campus.

The following individuals have earned the Ph.D. in Engineering Physics:

William Price

William Price

Dr. William Price studied the application of nonlinear control methods to dual quaternion systems, which provide a novel mathematical approach for modeling rigid body motion. Formerly he was a navigator and operations officer on the Navy submarine USS Henry M. Jackson. Dr. Price is now an adjunct instructor in the Physical Sciences Department at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus.

Jamie Rubio-Hervas

Jamie Rubio-Hervas

Dr. Jaime Rubio Hervas examined the dynamics and control of systems with velocity and acceleration constraints, showing their application in such examples as spacecraft attitude control. His dissertation resulted in around 20 peer-reviewed journal publications and conference proceedings. Currently he is working on landing systems for unpiloted aircraft with his Embry-Riddle Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Mahmut Reyhanoglu, as a research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Chau Ton

Chau Ton

Dr. Chau Ton focused on the design of robust control methods for systems that contain uncertainties in the dynamic model. He was a graduate teaching assistant at Embry-Riddle while earning his Ph.D. and now holds a postdoctoral position at the University of Florida’s Research Engineering & Education Facility.

Prescott Commencement

Paul Gosar

Paul Gosar

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona will be the guest speaker.

Embry-Riddle will hold a commencement ceremony for 142 students at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Prescott Campus Activity Center, 3700 Willow Creek Road. Graduating will be 112 students from the Prescott Campus, 29 from the Worldwide Campus and one from the Daytona Beach Campus.

The guest speaker will be Congressman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.). Gosar hails from Prescott, Ariz., and is serving his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives for Arizona’s Fourth Congressional District.

As a member of the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, Gosar is the vice chairman of the subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care & Entitlements, a member of the subcommittee on National Security and a member of the subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation & Regulatory Affairs.

As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee he serves on three subcommittees: Energy & Mineral Resources, Indian & Alaska Native Affairs and Water & Power.

In the last two years alone, Gosar has won awards from the 60 Plus Association, the American Conservative Union, Goodwill Industries, the Healthcare Leadership Council, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Federation of Independent Business, RetireSafe and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Before his election to Congress in 2010, he owned a dental practice in Flagstaff, Ariz., for 25 years. His dedication earned him the Arizona Dental Association’s “Dentist of the Year” award and induction into the group’s Hall of Fame. Gosar’s drive to reform health care began when he served as president of the Arizona Dental Association and vice chairman of the American Dental Association’s Council on Governmental Affairs.

During the Prescott commencement ceremony he will receive the university’s Eagle of Aviation Award in recognition of his significant contributions to aviation.

A video of the commencement ceremony will be available for purchase two weeks after the event; to order, call (928) 777-3816. At a later date the video will be posted on the Prescott graduation website at

The following commencement-related activities will be held on Embry-Riddle’s Prescott Campus at 3700 Willow Creek Road unless noted otherwise.

Prescott Commencement Events

Friday, Dec. 6

Senior Night Out – Rock ‘N’ Roll Bowl
9:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Antelope Lanes Bowling Center | 6301 E. Second St., Prescott Valley.

Embry-Riddle’s Alumni Association invites all alumni, including the Class of 2013, to enjoy an evening of free bowling and snacks. For more information and to RSVP, contact (928) 777-4201 or

Friday, Dec. 13

Army ROTC Commissioning
9:30 a.m.
Academic Complex 1, Room 302
A reception will follow.

Air Force ROTC Commissioning
11 a.m.
Davis Learning Center.
A reception will follow.

Graduation Photos & Rehearsal
Activity Center
12:30 p.m.: individual cap and gown photos.
1:30 p.m.: class photo with caps and gowns.
2 p.m.: rehearsal.

Cords & Awards Honors Recognition Ceremony
3 p.m.
Activity Center.

All graduates and their families are invited to attend the ceremony and the reception. Reservations are required; RSVP with Sally Jackson at (928) 777-3879 or Honor cords, honorary organization memberships, outstanding graduates and other accomplishments will be recognized.

Saturday, Dec. 14

8 to 9:30 a.m. | Eagle Gym, individual cap and gown photos.
9:30 | Eagle Gym, lineup.
10 a.m. to noon | Activity Center, commencement ceremony.
A reception will follow in the Eagle Gym.

Daytona Beach Commencement

Jim Henderson

Jim Henderson

New ERAU Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Jim Henderson will be the guest speaker.

The ceremony for 393 students from the Daytona Beach Campus will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 16, at the Ocean Center, 101 N. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach.

The guest speaker, Jim Henderson, is currently the chairman of Embry-Riddle’s Board of Trustees and will become vice chairman on Jan. 1, 2014. He was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2003 and was elected chairman in 2007. Henderson is the chairman of the Compensation and Executive committees. He is also a member of the Audit, Investment & Trustees committees.

The Jim W. Henderson Administration & Welcome Center that opened in 2012 on the Daytona Beach Campus was named for him to honor his service and leadership to the university.

Henderson is the chairman and CEO of AssuredPartners Inc., a private equity firm based in Lake Mary, Fla., that specializes in investments in property and casualty and employee benefits brokerage firms. It is the 14th largest business-by-business insurance brokerage firm in the United States.

Previously, he was with Brown & Brown, the sixth largest independent insurance agency in the United States, from 1985-2010, starting as chief financial officer and ultimately becoming vice chairman and chief operating officer, directing the company’s Regional Services and Brokerage divisions. He was a member of Brown & Brown’s Board of Directors and the company’s Executive and Acquisitions committees.

In earlier experience, Henderson was an audit supervisor with Ernst & Whinney and then senior vice president and treasurer of the Ormond Reinsurance Group.

Henderson is co-chairman of the Insurance Accounting & Systems Association’s Property & Casualty Committee and president of the Financial Executives Institute of Central Florida.

He also serves on the Board of the Hallmark Insurance Company, Board of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and the Business School Advisory Board of Stetson University.

During the ceremony he will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

A live streaming broadcast of the commencement ceremony will be available for viewing at on Dec. 16 and will remain there. The following commencement-related activities will be held on Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus at 600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd. unless noted otherwise.

Daytona Beach Commencement Events

Saturday, Dec. 14

Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony
10 a.m.
Emil Buehler Aviation Maintenance Science Building, Third-Floor Deck.

Four cadets will be commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army. A reception will follow the ceremony. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place in the Willie Miller Instructional Center auditorium. Contact: (386) 226-6473.

Sunday, Dec. 15

Master’s Hooding Ceremony
10 a.m.
ICI Center.
Students should arrive no later than 9:30 a.m. for lineup. A reception will follow the ceremony.

Air Force ROTC Commissioning Ceremony
2 p.m.
James Hagedorn Aviation Complex Hangar.

Ten students will be commissioned as second lieutenants in the Air Force. A reception will follow the ceremony. Contact: (386) 226-6880.

Catholic Mass
7 p.m.
Morris Memorial Sanctuary, Center for Faith & Spirituality
Contact: (386) 226-6027.

Monday, Dec. 16

Daytona Beach Campus Commencement
10 a.m.
Ocean Center | 101 N. Atlantic Ave. (State Road A1A), Daytona Beach.

Student lineup is at 8 a.m. and the ceremony will begin promptly at 10 a.m. For more information on graduation, visit For directions to the Ocean Center, visit

Naval ROTC Commissioning Ceremony
3:30 p.m.
Jim Henderson Administration & Welcome Center.

Six graduating midshipmen will be commissioned as ensigns in the Navy and three as second lieutenants in the Marine Corps. A reception will follow. Contact: (386) 226-6473.

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Marketing & Enrollment Management
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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world's largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 70 baccalaureate, master's and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., and through the Worldwide Campus with more than 150 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at