Carol Lewis Heideman Endowed Presidential Fellowship in Biomedical Engineering

May 14, 2014 | EPS/EPF

John Heideman, BS ASE ’66, says he remembers clearly the moment that the former Soviet Union pushed ahead of the United States after launching Sputnik, making it the first country to put a satellite into space. The year was 1957, and it was this event that inspired Heideman to pursue an education in aerospace engineering.

While attending UT, Heideman says he learned how to think logically and how to attack and solve problems, which has affected everything in his life since. During his senior year Heideman applied and was accepted to Rice University, where he earned both his MS and PhD in aerospace engineering while working for Professor Angelo Miele — a man he still holds in high esteem to this day and who was a major influence in his life.

During his time at Rice, Heideman was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship where he worked alongside the professor on research topics that included flight mechanics, astrodynamics, and optimization theory. Some of his favorite memories include Miele brainstorming new ideas with his research group. He would gather his students into his office, where they would present new ideas and discuss the possibility of future projects. Honest feedback from his students was always encouraged.

Carol Lewis Heideman
“He took care of us. He was like a second father to most of us,” Heideman said. “I learned a lot and he instilled a lot.”

After graduating from Rice in 1970 with his PhD, Heideman found employment at ExxonMobil. Heideman considers himself one of the “lucky ones,” because ExxonMobil, he said, understood that aerospace engineers study fluid mechanics, making them good candidates for the oil and gas industry.

Heideman held a variety of positions at ExxonMobil over the 36 years he worked for the company, eventually landing the position of senior research associate in the Offshore Research Group. His work experience includes modeling natural gas pipelines, developing oil reservoir simulations, and recommending best practices for offshore drilling.

Because Heideman received a scholarship to attend UT, he felt the need to pass the torch by assisting students from similar backgrounds. In 2009, Heideman and his late wife, Carol, provided funds to establish the John C. & Carol L. Heideman Endowed Scholarship in Engineering. He also supports a nursing scholarship at the UT Health Science Center in Houston.

Today, Heideman takes advantage of ExxonMobil’s 3:1 match to make annual contributions to the Angelo Miele student projects endowment and continues to be involved with students who work on these projects.

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