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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.

  • Emily Beckman
    Emily Beckman Purdue University

    Graduate Student, Aeronautics and Astronautics • Class of 2020 • Purdue University | B.S. Aerospace Engineering • Class of 2018 • University of Tennessee, Knoxville

    After two internships at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Beckman was selected as a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow. Her research for the fellowship and her master’s degree at Purdue focus on modeling slosh in small-satellite conformal tanks.

    During her undergraduate studies, Beckman interned at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Space Hardware and Robotics Academy, where she researched future additive manufacturing improvements needed to make reliable 3D-printed replacement parts for the International Space Station’s life-support system. Beckman has volunteered with the Space Public Outreach Team and Letters to a Prescientist Program to improve youth STEM outreach.

  • David Zuehlke
    David Zuehlke Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

    M.S. Aerospace Engineering • Class of 2019 • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University | B.S. Engineering • Class of 2017 • Bob Jones University

    Zuehlke’s research on optical orbit estimation with small telescopes seeks to provide an inexpensive way to keep track of the growing number of satellites in orbit. That research became a reality through the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Summer Faculty Fellowship Program and played a key role in a cooperative grant started jointly by Embry-Riddle and the AFRL. He runs an astronomy STEM outreach event for middle school and high school students to enable them to view planets, stars and satellites through telescopes. During his undergraduate studies, he served as software team leader of the Bruins
    robot team at Bob Jones University.

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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