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Dennis Evangelista

About me

Dennis Evangelista

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Weapons and Systems Engineering at the US Naval Academy.  Prior to my appointment, I was a postdoctoral research associate in the Biology Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

My undergraduate degrees are in mechanical engineering (Course 2) and electrical engineering (Course 6) from MIT; I also completed the MEng in EECS at MIT and an MS in mechanical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.  I was commissioned through NROTC and service selected for Naval Reactors duty, where I worked on A4W reactor plant instrumentation (08K); SEAWOLF, VIRGINIA, and NR-1 fluid systems; and submarine concept designs (08E). After that, I left active duty and completed my PhD in Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley.

My research is in comparative biomechanics. I have done marine invertebrate field work in the Gulf of Maine; at Friday Harbor labs; and at McMurdo station. I have also worked with fast moving plants and with birds/animal flight control evolution. At UNC, I worked on collective behavior of flocks and swarms. I make use of engineering techniques applied to biological studies. Most recently, I am using things learned from biology in swarms and autonomy for engineered systems.

Here at USNA I teach ES200/ES202 (the introductory courses in Systems Engineering and Mechatronics).  I have worked with capstone students on Sailbot, Systems Ball, and the DARPA Swarm Challenge; next year I also have a biomechanics group and a group working on autonomous small craft.

I raise guide dog puppies who occasionally visit the office: please try to ignore Crom (guide dog puppy in training); Binzel (released guide dog, now therapy dog) is very happy to be petted. 


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Integrative Biology. University of California, Berkeley, 2013.
  • Master of Science, Engineering Science (Mechanical Engineering). Naval Postgraduate School and Bettis Reactor Engineering School, 2001.
  • Master of Engineering, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. MIT, 1999.
  • Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering. MIT, 1999.
  • Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering. MIT, 1999.


  • Postdoctoral research associate, Biology Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2013-2015.
  • Lieutenant, US Navy. Naval Sea Systems Command (08), Naval Reactors, 1999-2004. 
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