Sandy Magnus, Deborah Lee James Win WIA Honors

Sandy Magnus, Deborah Lee James Win WIA Honors

Women in Aerospace (WIA) announced its 2018 award winners today.  Among them is Sandy Magnus, a former astronaut and former executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and former Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James.

Sandy Magnus, former astronaut and former AIAA Executive Director.  Credit: AIAA.

Magnus was selected for WIA’s Aerospace Awareness Award recognizing her “work raising awareness of STEM and aerospace to diverse, global audiences, and engaging students in aerospace to grow the next generation workforce.”

Selected as a NASA astronaut in 1996, Magnus made four spaceflights including the very last space shuttle flight, STS-135, in July 2011. She has degrees in physics and electrical engineering and a PhD in material sciences and engineering (Georgia Tech).  She was AIAA Executive Director from October 2012- January 2018 and served as a member of the Trump transition team for NASA in early 2017.  She is currently a member of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel.

James will receive WIA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of “her significant contributions to aerospace during her 36 year career and for her lifelong commitment to the advancement of women in aerospace.”

Deborah Lee James, former Secretary of the Air Force. Credit: James’s LinkedIn page.

James has a bachelor’s degree in comparative studies and a master’s in international affairs (Columbia). She was a staff member of the House Armed Services Committee before joining the Clinton Administration as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs.  She then worked for SAIC where she rose to become President of its Technical and Engineering Sector.  She was Secretary of the Air Force from December 2013-January 2017.  She currently serves on a number of corporate and non-profit boards and is a senior advisor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Magnus and James are two of the five women being recognized by WIA this year.  The others are: NASA’s Jessica Koehne for the Achievement Award for her work in developing nano-bio sensors for space applications and mentoring next generation scientists and engineers; Accion Systems’s Natalya Bailey for the Initiative, Inspiration, Impact Award for her work in developing innovative propulsion technology and her passion for being an advocate and mentor for youth in STEM education; and SAIC’s Barbara J BJ Smith for the Leadership Award for her excellence at FAA as a pioneer in her field and as a mentor and leader for women in Air Traffic Control.

The awards will be presented at a gala ceremony on November 1, 2018 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Arlington, VA.

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