Published: Feb. 14, 2023
Uchida headshot

Jennifer Uchida graduated from CU Boulder in 2005 with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering sciences. Following graduation, she accepted a position with the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) as a civilian flight test engineer for the Marine Corps in Patuxent River, Maryland. She supported the experimental flight testing of the V-22 Osprey, deploying several new and lifesaving capabilities to the fleet and logging over 100 flight hours of crew time. In 2011, she had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, a rare and prestigious opportunity for a civilian, where she learned how to relate real-world mission requirements to her work as a flight test engineer.  She logged 100 flight hours of crew time over 16 different types of military aircraft. In 2012, Uchida applied to NASA’s astronaut program and was one of the top 50 candidates for selection in 2013. Following her time with NAVAIR, she spent a winter in Big Sky, Montana, as a ski instructor before heading to Gulfstream Aerospace to help lead the experimental test efforts for FAA type certification on the new G500 and G600 programs.

Uchida is now the manager of test and evaluation at AeroTEC (Aerospace Test, Engineering & Certification) where she oversees and directs the work of flight test engineers, test pilots, flight test instrumentation engineers and software engineers on various customer projects. In 2022, Uchida was elected president of the Society of Flight Test Engineers — the first woman to serve in the position.

Contributions to the Smead Aerospace Engineering Science Department over the past year:

Uchida has been very passionate about directly supporting students in meaningful ways. In 2015, she started donating financially to the earn-learn program for the Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences. After working as an earn-learn student as an undergraduate, she is committed to the continued success of the program. Uchida has mentored and helped several aerospace students to get internships and full-time jobs at competitive companies like Gulfstream Aerospace and NAVAIR. In May 2018, Jen came back to CU Boulder to be the graduation speaker at the department’s commencement ceremony. She also supports the Brooke Owens Fellowship as an executive mentor.

Uchida has been committed to supporting Smead Aerospace at a broader level.  In 2018, she joined the department’s External Advisory Board. In spring 2022, she was on the AeroBuffs Club Outstanding Alumni Awards Selection Committee. Uchida has been a strong champion of aerospace senior capstone projects and has met with the leadership of several of her employers to encourage them to become a sponsor. In her leadership role within the Society of Flight Test Engineers, she is working to create a new chapter that will serve the Rocky Mountain region, including CU.  This new chapter will benefit current students, faculty members and alumni. Students will be eligible to apply for SFTE scholarships, and it will open new networking and job opportunities. Uchida’s commitment to meaningful engagement with Smead Aerospace has far-reaching impacts, and we are lucky to have her involvement at CU Boulder.