Trinh Pham

Photo of Trinh Pham
College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Office Location: KH D1045


I am currently serving as the Director of the Honors College at Cal State LA, and am also a Professor here in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. After graduating with my Ph.D. from UC Irvine, I worked in various positions including postdoctoral researcher, consultant, lecturer, teacher fellow, and book editor, and since joining Cal State LA, have served as faculty, advisor, and now administrator.

I am a proud member of the Cal State LA community and am driven by the impactful work we do. I strongly identify with the students at Cal State LA - my own experiences have taught me the importance of grit and resilience, of self-care and the need for the constant pursuit of happiness in the midst of, at times, an extremely complicated life. My aim is to bring these values and experiences to bear when working with our students at Cal State LA, recognizing that their struggles in many ways mirror my own.


My broad teaching interests lie in the thermal and fluid sciences. My more specific interests are in renewable energy and sustainability, and I think great potential exists in this field to draw more women and underrepresented students into engineering by appealing to students' desires to make a more obvious positive impact on society and the environment. Another of my teaching interests is in combining applications-based learning with traditionally lecture-oriented courses. Tools that can be employed include in-class demonstrations, group activities, laboratory research, design projects, and off-campus facility visitations. I also aim to create a clear link between the hands-on aspects of applied engineering projects and the fundamental concepts that are necessary in effective problem-solving so that our students are able to generate efficient and robust designs while maintaining a good sense of personal responsibility and integrity.


At UC Irvine, I studied combustion phenomena in centimeter-scale tubular chambers, and focused on experimental diagnostics of the flow and flame behavior associated with these portable power systems. The aim was to examine combustion features that are only evident at small scales, and to apply this knowledge to the design of power systems that can replace batteries in applications requiring high power densities. At Cal State LA, my interest shifted to alternative fuels and sustainability, and I have been involved in research projects in which the aim is to investigate the production and performance characteristics of alternative fuels, including ethanol and biodiesel. I have also engaged in research that explores the affect of swirling flow on the production of gaseous and particulate emissions, with the goal that biofuels will eventually be studied using the experimental approach our team designed. Although I am not active in research at Cal State LA presently, I am working with a Ph.D. student at UCI, who will be completing her dissertation by the end of Fall 2016.



Ph.D. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 2006

M.S. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 2003

B.S. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Double Major) 2001

  • University of California, Irvine
    Irvine, CA