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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 will open February 1, 2022

20 Twenties Class of 2021

  • Swati Ravi
    Swati Ravi Columbia University

    Undergraduate Student, Physics | Class of 2022 | Columbia University

    As project co-lead for the NASA-funded Characterizing Antibiotic Resistance in Microgravity Environments (CARMEn) experiment, Ravi’s research will serve as a foundation for future aerospace biomedical technologies. The experiment is slated to fly on SpaceX 24 to study how the growth and antibiotic resistance of pathogenic microorganisms in space are influenced by interactions with each other and the microgravity environment. Ravi is overseeing a team of 25 students, managing the project’s NASA grant and communicating with NASA and Nanoracks for safety reviews.

    Ravi also is co-president of the Columbia Space Initiative, where she has developed virtual aerospace lesson plans and lecture series for K-12 students during the pandemic. Before the transition to virtual learning, she organized two full-day aerospace workshops for middle school students. She teaches weekly math classes to K-12 students and has developed an astronomy curriculum for several local Girl Scout troops.

  • Madeline McQueen
    Madeline McQueen Ryerson University

    Graduate Student, Aerospace Engineering | Class of 2022 | Ryerson University | BSc Mechanical Engineering | Class of 2020 | University of Windsor

    McQueen hopes to become a force for change in making the aviation industry more sustainable. As part of her graduate research at the National Research Council’s Gas Turbine Laboratory in Ottawa, Canada, she is comparing the performance of an on-ground hybrid-electric propulsion system in a serial configuration using different mission profiles and flight conditions. The system could eventually be used to predict the performance and range of battery technologies on future hybrid-electric aircraft.

    McQueen completed multiple co-ops at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada, where she aided lab testing of vehicle systems and components. She has held multiple elected positions at the University of Windsor Engineering Society and helped the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering to organize and plan its “Go ENG Girl” event, which provided adolescent and teen girls the opportunity to explore the engineering field.

  • Oscar Klempay
    Oscar Klempay Georgia Institute of Technology

    M.S. Aerospace Engineering | Class of 2021 | Georgia Institute of Technology | B.S. Aerospace Engineering | Class of 2020 | Georgia Institute of Technology

    Klempay has leveraged his participation in the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) to give back to his community while working toward his long-term goal of becoming a test pilot. He served as Wing Commander for his Air Force ROTC detachment, where he mentored younger cadets and participated in dozens of service events. After studying Russian abroad in Latvia and Lithuania through an ROTC scholarship, he began volunteering at a local refugee resettlement agency to translate for Eastern European families acclimating to life in the U.S.

    Klempay worked part-time at the Air National Guard Program Office during graduate school, where he developed an algorithm to optimize flight-test planning for electronic warfare testing. He also earned a private pilot license and interned at NASA Ames Research Center and SpaceX. Post-graduation, Klempay will attend the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program.

The Top 20

Universities around the world nominate their top students who are working to solve challenges within the industry.

Now in its 8th year, the prestigious awards program received a total of 553 nominations from exceptional students worldwide earning university STEM degrees and awarded 160 of them as 20 Twenties winners.

A total of 136 different colleges and universities around the world have participated in the program since 2013 by nominating students on the basis of their academic performance, broader civic contribution, and the value of their research or design project.

Most importantly, the program brings together technology hiring managers, students, and faculty worldwide to recognize what’s needed for business and academic growth and success. The students begin building a network comprised of the technical experts who have built the industry, the universities gain visibility for high-quality education provided to the students, and hiring managers gain knowledge about the best of the best in the next generation of aerospace talent.

The 2021 nomination program brought in a total of 61 total qualified nominations from 26 different universities representing five countries. Five new nominator schools participated in the program this year. 

The schools representing the 2020s class of 2021 include:

A focus on women in aerospace

In an industry still heavily dominated by men, the 2021 nomination pool was roughly an equal split with half of the nominees identifying as male (31), and half identifying as female (29).

According to Aviation Week Network’s editor Lindsay Bjerregaard, “Many of this year’s winners expressed passion for closing the gender gap in STEM and making education more accessible. Some have spent countless hours on outreach efforts to draw more women to aviation and aerospace. Others have focused on increasing racial and economic diversity within STEM, both through involvement in campus organizations and work in their communities.”

Nominations will open February 1, 2022

“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 will open February 1, 2022


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