Engineer of Distinction Award (Posthumous)

Lisa HardawayLisa Hardaway was chief engineer on the Orion Program at Ball Aerospace and Technologies, overseeing the design, development and test of a suite of sensors used for relative navigation. Prior to this, she was the technical manager for the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3, a hybrid UV to IR camera that is enabling a deeper understanding of our universe, and the Ralph camera on the New Horizons mission to Pluto, which will provide color, composition and thermal mapping of Pluto and Charon. Through her PhD thesis work at CU Boulder, Hardaway observed, for the first time, several different phenomena that lead to the instability of structures under nanometer deformation.

An active member of the engineering community, Hardaway was a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, serving in leadership roles on the Structures Technical Committee, and the American Astronautical Society as a member and chair of the 2013 AAS Guidance, Navigation and Control Conference. She served for six years on the Smead Aerospace external advisory board, including two years as vice chair and one year as chair.

Hardaway was the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Engineer of the Year for 2015-2016 and earned the national Women in Aerospace Leadership Award in 2015. The New Horizons team has also been recognized with several prestigious industry awards, including the 2017 SPIE George W. Goddard Award and the 2016 Aviation Week Laureate Award. NASA’s New Horizons mission team honored the life and contributions of aerospace engineer Lisa Hardaway by dedicating the spectrometer she helped to develop—which brought the first color close-up images of Pluto to the world—in her memory.

Hardaway mentored many young engineers, many CU students and now permanent Ball employees, with a mission to see others succeed and to see CU Boulder succeed. She set a high bar in every aspect of her life and continues to serve as a role model for her former colleagues, for the faculty and advisory board members who knew her, and the many young people she mentored. Hardaway passed away in January 2017.