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What makes a 20 Twenty?

Aviation Week Network honors 20 students in their Twenties each year currently enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM). The 20 Twenties program was established by Aviation Week Network in 2013 to recognize talented individuals who are on course to change the face of the aerospace and defense industry. Criteria is based on academic performance, public/community involvement and how they communicate the value of your individual research/design project.

Click HERE to learn the qualities that make a 20 Twenty

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Nominations close April 30, 2021

Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders

  • Laura Yenchesky
    Laura Yenchesky Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    B.S. Mechanical Engineering • Class of 2019 • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    As an undergraduate researcher at MIT’s Space Telecommunications, Astronomy and Radiation Laboratory, Yenchesky led design and analysis efforts for NASA’s CubeSat Laser Infrared Crosslink mission, which aims to demonstrate the first full-duplex laser communications crosslink between two nanosatellites in low Earth orbit. Following internships at Millennium Space Systems, Orbital ATK and Aurora Flight Sciences, she now works full time as a mechanical systems engineer at Aurora Flight Sciences. Yenchesky served as team coach on the MIT Gordon Engineering Leadership Program and as professional development chair for MIT Women in Aerospace Engineering. She was also captain of MIT’s Sport Pistol Team, which won the 2019 National Collegiate Championships.

  • Shannon Gatta
    Shannon Gatta University of Washington

    Undergraduate Student, Informatics • Class of 2020 • University of Washington

    While serving as an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army National Guard, Gatta interned at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and Langley Research Center, Stratolaunch and Ball Aerospace. At Ball, she is conducting research with United Launch Alliance to create their first mission-capable deployment of a UAV from a rocket payload. She also serves as an ambassador for Minority Veterans of America and will travel to Vietnam with PeaceTrees this fall to teach how to safely excavate bombs. Gatta’s passion for data science and cultivating youth interest in STEM has led her to volunteer with Girls Who Code, Seattle App Academy and Washington
    Space Grant. She was selected as the first astronaut candidate for The Out Astronaut Project, which is working to train and send an openly LGBTQ+ person into space.

  • Katherine Carroll
    Katherine Carroll Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    M.S. Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering • Class of 2021 • Massachusetts Institute of Technology | B.S. Aerospace Engineering • Class of 2019 • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

    With a passion for giving back to the community, Carroll has participated in programs such as Habitat for Humanity and Entrepreneurs Without Borders and mentored engineering students as president of her university’s Women in Aerospace organization. She has interned at SpaceX, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and The Aerospace Corp. As technical project manager at the Illinois Space Society, she led a team of undergraduate students to design, manufacture and test a sharp-edge detection and suppression device for NASA’s Micro-G Next Challenge. At MIT, Carroll is researching socio-technical system performance and its applications within aerospace and defense.

The Top 20

Universities around the world nominate their top students who are working to solve challenges within the industry. Only 20 exceptional winners are chosen.

Now in its eighth year, the 20 Twenties program received nominations from nearly 50 schools across seven countries, including 17 new ones. Several winners have served as leaders at their universities in helping students from diverse cultural backgrounds achieve better access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and opportunities.

One area of STEM outreach on which this year’s winners are heavily focused is women’s representation in aerospace. Not only were more than half of 2020’s winners female, but many of the students have volunteered their time with organizations and nonprofits devoted to increasing women’s representation and interest in STEM.

Nominations close April 30, 2021

“One of the biggest problems in the sciences today is that we have a tendency to treat science as inaccessible to certain people. This not only shuts people out from the opportunity for support to pursue science, but also manifests into a culture conditioned to fear science as something that’s untrustworthy or incomprehensible.”

Valerie Bernstein

20 Twenties winner

Nominations close April 30, 2021

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