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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

Nominations now open! Deadline to nominate by April 29, 2022.

Congratulations to the 20 Twenties Class of 2022

  • Chloé Gentgen
    Chloé Gentgen Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    M.S. Aeronautics and Astronautics | Class of 2022 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    B.S. and M.S. Engineering | Class of 2020 | Ecole Centrale Paris, University of Paris-Saclay

    Gentgen is researching the design of planetary exploration missions with a focus on optimizing propulsion systems and improving sustainability efforts. She was a finalist in last year’s NASA RASC-AL competition, for which she proposed a crewed mission concept to Ceres. She is leading a team in this year’s competition to design a mobile in situ resource utilization plant capable of producing methalox propellant on Mars. She also was selected as a systems engineer for the Caltech Space Challenge.

    Gentgen has interned at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Thales Alenia and Flying Whales. She is president of MIT’s Graduate Women in Aerospace Engineering student group and a member of the Space Generation Advisory Council Group. She is training to become a volunteer emergency medical technician at MIT.

  • Julia Weiss
    Julia Weiss University of Michigan

    Graduate Student, Aerospace Engineering | Class of 2022 | University of Michigan
    B.S. Aerospace Engineering | Class of 2021 | University of Michigan

    Weiss is working with faculty at the University of Michigan to develop an undergraduate course series that will prepare students for real-world engineering operations and systems thinking through elements previously overlooked in the engineering curriculum, such as effective teaming, scheduling and budgeting. Through this project, she works with aerospace and defense industry representatives to ensure the curriculum matches industry needs.

    Weiss also demonstrated her passion for enacting organizational change as vice president of the Michigan Aeronautical Science Association, where she led transformative efforts such as new member support networks and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. She has completed internships at Northrop Grumman and General Atomics as well.

  • Daniel Mayper
    Daniel Mayper Purdue University

    B.S. Aeronautics and Astronautics | Class of 2022 | Purdue University

    Mayper’s undergraduate research is helping to refi ne the properties of lunar landers so they are able to withstand high landing temperatures. He was part of a team that designed and built an original experiment to measure the plume-impingement heating of lunar-lander legs during landing. The experiment is scheduled to fly on Masten Space System Xodiac rocket at Mojave Air and Space Port this year.

    Mayper is a member of the Indiana Army National Guard, for which he performs maintenance and repair on helicopters. While deployed to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, he continued his studies through remote learning. He is president of the Purdue Student Veteran Organization and volunteers with the school’s Veterans Success Center to help veterans, active service members and their dependents understand and utilize their GI Bill benefits.

Recognition & Awards Ceremony

The 20 students chosen for the 2022 awards were honored at the 20 Twenties Luncheon and at Aviation Week Network’s annual Laureates Awards and Banquet on November 3, 2022 at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC. In addition, all winners have been highlighted in Aviation Week & Space Technology and will receive a free digital subscription to the magazine.

photos:  Nathan Mitchell Photography

The Top 20

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

Now in its 9th year, the prestigious awards program received a total of 635 nominations from exceptional students worldwide earning university STEM degrees and awarded 180 of them as 20 Twenties winners.

A total of 149 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 2022 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 now open! Deadline to nominate by April 29, 2022.

Hear from our Class of 2021 Winners.

  • "In both the Luncheon and Dinner, I built numerous professional relationships that I hope to sustain and grow over the rest of my career. Celebrating exceptional technological leaps and incredible individual contributions across all industry sectors was an amazing experience. I was honored and delighted to take part in the 20 Twenties events, and am very grateful for the support of Aviation Week and event sponsors."

    Zachary Marshall
    Zachary Marshall
  • "Overall, I really enjoyed the experience of being a 20 Twenty! I can confidently say that the networking opportunities allowed me to build connections that have helped me immensely as I start my career. For that I would like to say thank you. Also, I found the experience to be highly motivating too. It was incredible to see the amazing projects my fellow 20 Twenties are working on and the projects occurring within industry. Thank you again for the opportunity to be part of this amazing program."

    Logan Hill
    Logan Hill
  • “It was a rare opportunity to be surrounded by so many game changers in the industry who are contributing to developments in aerospace I had only previously read about and aspired to do someday. Interacting with them and hearing their stories has only reaffirmed my love for aerospace and my drive to carry on their work in the future.​"

    Shreyasvi Gowda
    Shreyasvi Gowda
  • "The 20 Twenties award will hold immense value in my young career as an engineer. It encouraged me to continue pursuing my dreams and demonstrated that I was truly making an impact on others. The award also helped me connect with future aerospace leaders and current aerospace leaders to not only advance my own development, but also create partnerships and friendships. The 20 Twenties Award Luncheon and Dinner by Aviation Week Network was an incredible experience that I will cherish at the beginning of my budding career!​"

    Ryan Udell
    Ryan Udell
  • "The 20 Twenties Luncheon and Laureates Awards Dinner was a very worthwhile experience that gave me the opportunity to meet and network with not only current aerospace industry leaders, but also with other 20 Twenties award winners."

    Emily Williams
    Emily Williams

Nominations now open! Deadline to nominate by April 29, 2022.


Premier Sponsor:

The 20 Twenties program reflects the best within the next generation of talent entering the aerospace and defense industries. As a global leader in advanced composites technology, Hexcel applauds these awardees for their outstanding academic accomplishments, and we are inspired by their passion. We look forward to working with them as together, we usher in a new era of cutting-edge advancements in aeronautics. I thank Aviation Week for the opportunity for us to meet these honorees and to participate in encouraging them as they reach for new heights.

Colleen Pritchard, Hexcel

Premier Sponsor:


As a sponsor and attendee for the 20 Twenties program, it was an excellent engagement with some of the brightest minds in aerospace and defense.  Even more than the energy and vision they provide for our industry, the inspiring message and enthusiasm they bring to our talent pipeline is much needed as we compete with others sectors.

Scott Drach, Boeing



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