Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering


Office: Engineering A108

Dr. Karen Thorsett-Hill

Associate Professor of Practice

Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Thorsett-Hill (aka “Dr. KTH” or “Dr. Karen”) is a former teaching associate professor at UNC Charlotte’s William States Lee College of Engineering teaching thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, material science, and statics. Together with her husband, Dr. Jerre Hill, she was a founding advisor to UNC Charlotte’s nationally acclaimed NASA USLI Rocketry Team and Club – a team that consistently places among the top three rocketry teams at NASA’s annual competition in Huntsville, Alabama. The team also placed third in the National Instruments Global Student Design Competition.

She also teaches heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and solid mechanics in the summers at CU Boulder and has taught at California State University Sacramento.

Prior to pursuing her PhD, Dr. Thorsett-Hill spent 20 years in engineering project management and engineering design in both the U.S. Navy and private industry. 

A two-time Ironman, Dr. Thorsett-Hill spends way too much time swimming, cycling, and running. When not training, Dr. KTH enjoys cycling up (and down!) Pikes Peak and Mt Evans, volunteering at a local animal shelter, and spending time with her husband, two dogs, and cat. She has also been known to escape civilization for several weeks at a time to backpack and has thru-hiked the Tahoe Rim Trail and John Muir Trail. 


  • Ph.D. 2012, University of North Carolina at Charlotte—Mechanical Engineering
  • M.S. 2010, University of North Carolina at Charlotte—Mechanical Engineering
  • M.B.A. 1997, California State University
  • B.S. 1991, University of Memphis—Mechanical Engineering


Research Interests

  • Aerothermodynamics of High-Speed Flow

  • General Applications of Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer

Honors and Awards

  • UNC Charlotte mechanical engineering department nominee for the College of Engineering undergraduate teaching award in 2015, 2016, and 2017.  
  • Faculty mentor to the award-winning 49er Rocketry and Projectile Society and NASA USLI senior design competition team. The team placed first in the nation in rocket design, second in the overall national competition (twice), third in the world for their instrumentation in the National Instruments Student Design Competition, and won UNC Charlotte College of Engineering’s best senior design project award. 
  • Selected as a Levine Scholars faculty affiliate and mentor for North Carolina’s most prestigious merit-based college scholarship program.