AIAA Announces 2018 Winners for Outstanding Educators and Literary Excellence in Aerospace Awards

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Awards to be presented at AIAA SciTech Forum in Kissimmee, Florida

December 6, 2017 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is pleased to announce that the following Educator Awards will be presented during the AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition (AIAA SciTech Forum), to be held at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Florida.


Langston L. Williams, Graduate Research Assistant/AEP Facilitator at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, will receive the Abe M. Zarem Award for Distinguished Achievement—Astronautics. The award honors Williams for his paper “Development of the Bidirectional Vortex in a Hemispherically-Shaped Rocket Engine.” The Zarem award was established as a means for students pursuing advanced degrees (master's level candidates) in aeronautics and astronautics to showcase their talent and work.

Joseph Majdalani, Professor at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, has been awarded the Abe M. Zarem Educator Award. This award recognizes the faculty advisor of the winner of the Zarem Award for Distinguished Achievement, reflecting Dr. Zarem’s belief that the guidance of faculty members is fundamental to the success of student research.

Farhan Gandhi, Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York, has been awarded the AIAA Faculty Advisor Award for reviving the AIAA RPI Student Branch, facilitating seminars, astronaut visits, company tours, conference participation, and providing students with opportunity, exposure, and sense-of-community through the association with AIAA. The Faculty Advisor Award is presented to the officially recognized faculty advisor of a chartered AIAA Student Branch who, in the opinion of student branch members and the AIAA Student Activities Committee, has made outstanding contributions as a student branch faculty advisor, as evidenced by the record of his or her student branch in local, regional, and national activities.

Hanspeter Schaub, Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in Boulder, Colorado, has been awarded the AIAA/ASEE J. Leland Atwood Award for seminal contributions and recognition of his innovation, elegance, dedication, enthusiasm, and impact as an aerospace educator to the University of Colorado Boulder. This award is bestowed annually upon an aerospace engineering educator in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession. 


AIAA is pleased to announce that the following Literary Excellence in Aerospace Awards also will be presented during the AIAA SciTech Forum.



Margot Lee Shetterly, author of Hidden Figures (HarperCollins Publishers, 2016) has been awarded the AIAA Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award. The award is presented for the best original contribution to the field of aeronautical or astronautical nonfiction literature published in the last five years dealing with the science, technology, and/or impact of aeronautics or astronautics on society.

Amy Kaminski, NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., has been awarded the AIAA History Manuscript Award for her “Sharing the Shuttle with America: NASA and Public Engagement After Apollo” manuscript. The award is presented for the best historical manuscript dealing with the science, technology, and/or impact of aeronautics and astronautics on society. The purpose of the award is to provide professional recognition to an author who makes a major and original contribution to the history of aeronautics or astronautics.

Josette R. Bellan, Senior Research Scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, has been awarded the AIAA Pendray Aerospace Literature Award for her “widely reaching, seminal and outstanding publications on bio-fuels, sprays and high pressure flows to meet future challenges of Aeronautics and Astronautics combustion systems.” The award is presented for an outstanding contribution or contributions to aeronautical and astronautical literature in the relatively recent past.

Leland Nicolai, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired), and Grant Carichner, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired), authors of Fundamentals of Aircraft and Airship Design, have been awarded the AIAA Summerfield Book Award. The award is presented to the author of the best book recently published (within the last five years) by AIAA.

For more information about the AIAA Honors and Awards program, please contact Patricia A. Carr, Manager, Honors and Awards Programs, at

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