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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 close April 30, 2021

Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders

  • Alexis Hepburn
    Alexis Hepburn Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

    Undergraduate Student, Aerospace Engineering Class of 2020 • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

    Hepburn initiated Embry-Riddle’s first on-campus electric propulsion research, serving as primary researcher to design, manufacture and test a miniaturized, single-stage Stationary Plasma Thruster-type Hall thruster. She has presented her research on the pocketsized Hall thruster at three international conferences, including the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Propulsion and Energy Forum. Hepburn has interned at Honeywell Aerospace, Raytheon Missile Systems, Boeing Defense, Space and Security and the Seattle Museum of Flight, where she volunteered to mentor students and increase young women’s interest in aerospace and STEM. She currently serves as an academic mentor with Embry- Riddle’s College of Engineering and as a career services and corporate relations peer advisor for the university.

  • Julia Mihaylov
    Julia Mihaylov Johns Hopkins University

    Graduate Student, Space Systems Engineering | Class of 2021 • Johns Hopkins University • B.S. Aerospace Engineering | Class of 2019 • Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University

    During her undergraduate research, Mihaylov served as co-lead of the Julia Language Ephemeris and Physical Constants Reader project through NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Her work directly aided JPL’s flight project Psyche and led to a part-time position at JPL supporting the Europa Clipper mission. Mihaylov was chosen for the Brooke Owens Fellowship—through which she interned at The Aerospace Corp. —and now is an alumni mentor to recent recipients of the fellowship. She served as editor-in-chief of the Horizons newspaper at Embry-Riddle, student vice president of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and chapter president for the Alpha Xi Delta Fraternity of Women.

  • Victoria Pellerito
    Victoria Pellerito Lawrence Technological University

    B.S. Mechanical Engineering • Class of 2020 • Lawrence Technological University

    Pellerito was the lead undergraduate researcher on a project to develop a flapping-wing robot with three different modes of elastic wing-connections. She also participated in two projects through the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, designing an autonomous flight system for exploration of Titan and examining the effects of heated boundary layers found in nature. She is the captain of Lawrence Technological University’s SAE Aero Design Team, which is working to develop a short takeoff-and-landing aircraft with a 10-ft. wingspan while aiming to carry as much payload as possible. In addition to serving as a mathematics and engineering tutor, she promotes STEM as chapter president of the Tau Beta Pi and Pi Tau Sigma honor societies.

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

Be Recognized

The 20 students chosen for the 2021 awards will be selected and announced in July 2021.  They will then be honored at the 20 Twenties Luncheon and at Aviation Week Network’s annual Laureate Awards and Banquet in conjunction with the DefenceChain Conference in October 2021 in Tysons Corner, Virginia. In addition, all winners will be highlighted in Aviation Week & Space Technology, and will receive a free digital subscription to the magazine.

“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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