Smead Aerospace Professor Penina Axelrad has been awarded a $1.1 million Graduate Assistantships in Areas of National Need (GAANN) grant from the US Department of Education. The program will provide funding to grow representation of women and underrepresented minorities with PhDs in Aerospace Engineering Sciences.
This project seeks to increase the number of U.S. PhD graduates entering the workforce, with expertise in the critical aerospace technologies needed to maintain U.S. global leadership and support regional aerospace needs. The United States faces a critical need in the aerospace and defense sector for professionals with advanced degrees in aerospace engineering and related fields. Today’s high-tech, interconnected society is ever more reliant on satellites and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for our national security, economic development, and scientific advancement.
Advances in GPS and Earth observation from low and high altitudes have revolutionized our understanding of the Earth and human activity, their impact on each other, how we communicate, and how business gets done.
The coming wave of mega-constellations and commercial drone activities will further expand the impact of complex aerospace technologies on daily life. Such dramatic shifts have created a national need for PhD graduates who can expertly navigate and lead in these disciplines – to define how UAS will operate in the national airspace system; to reliably predict the behavior of complex systems operating in extreme conditions; to protect communication links and mission critical software from interference; to design spacecraft, UAS, and new mission concepts to provide services for disaster response, detect hazards in the environment, and explore space.
In addition to Axelrad, grant co-investigators include Brian Argrow, Jade Morton, Scott Palo, Alireza Doostan, John Evans, Allie Anderson, David Klaus, Eric Frew, Hanspeter Schaub, Tomoko Matsuo, and Daniel Scheeres. Smead aerospace staff members providing support for the grant include Lewis Groswald, Margie Schneider, and Madeline Job.