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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    Diversity Working Group

    Our Vision

    AIAA leadership recognizes that a diverse membership is essential to the Institute's vision to be the voice of the aerospace profession, and to shape the future of aerospace.  Our vision is to ensure the AIAA strategic imperatives are realized through diversity and inclusion:


    • To develop and expand our community
    • To strengthen our existing community
    • To deliver exceptional results.

    Quick Links

    Current State

    Our Mission

    Upcoming Events

    Recent Events

    Get Engaged






    Current State

    AIAA membership data indicates that representation in key demographics (including women and underrepresented minorities) is lower than national workforce figures.  For instance, the Aviation Week 2015 Workforce Study found that 14.6% of Aerospace & Defense (A&D) engineering professionals are women.  However, women currently comprise only 8% of AIAA professional members.  It is notable that women make up 14% of AIAA student members, similar to the national A&D engineering demographics.  Retention losses from student to professional membership is a major concern for AIAA leadership.  These losses are disproportionally large for women, for reasons that deserve further understanding and attention.

    Comparisons of other demographics of underrepresented minorities in AIAA membership relative to the total aerospace community are difficult to measure because only 20% of AIAA professional members elect to indicate race or ethnicity in membership information.  However, available data indicates that AIAA membership is lagging national averages here also.

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    Our Mission

    In response to these concerns, AIAA has created the Diversity Working Group to ensure that we encourage participation and collaboration across all genders, ethnicities and races, and to enhance our representation of the entire industry. It is the working group's goal to improve on the following statistics, and grow the number of women and people from different races and ethnicities, to make our membership more representative of current industry demographics.

    The Diversity Working Group's mission is to fulfill AIAA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion:

    1. To maintain and bolster AIAA’s role as a leader in aerospace that advances and inspires the future of aerospace by truly representing and leading a diverse community,
    2. To meet the increasing need of the future diverse aerospace workforce by strengthening relationships with diversity leadership in government, industry, and academia,
    3. To improve membership retention by providing diverse leadership and role models within the organization, and
    4. To be the recognized and undisputed leading organization and focal point for successful role models and ideas in the global aerospace community.


    Diversity & Inclusion Plan
    Click here for a PDF copy of the plan.

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    Upcoming Events

    12–14 September 2017

    2017 AIAA SPACE Forum
    Orlando, Florida
    The DWG intends to sponsor or co-sponsor at least one event at AIAA SPACE 2017. We are assembling suggestions and contributors to make this event worthwhile and effective. Please contact us if you have an interest in participating.


    2016 Accomplishments

    To see what DWG accomplished in 2016 by working with others in the AIAA community, please view our presentation.


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    Past Events

    Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    Why and How to be Part of the AIAA Diversity and Inclusion Initiative  
    AIAA SciTech Forum, Grapevine, TX
    The AIAA Diversity and Inclusion Plan was published in August 2016. The plan’s recommendations for near, mid, and long term actions lay out concrete steps that the Institute and our members can take to promote diversity and inclusion. The AIAA Diversity Working Group (DWG) invites you to this event to share your ideas about what the DWG can do to embrace this important new AIAA initiative. We will first introduce the Plan, discuss the goals, and then elicit input from participants across different levels: National (TCs, PCs, and Forums), Regional and Sections, Campuses and Corporations.


    Thursday, 12 January 2017
    Women at SciTech Social Hour and Keynote  
    AIAA SciTech Forum, Grapevine, TX
    Speaker: Professor Mary "Missy" Cummings, Duke University
    Title: "The Workplace of the Future: Technology Traps and Leadership Challenges”

    Thursday, 7–8 September 2016

    Panel discussion on "Expanding Diversity & Inclusion in the A&D Workforce"


    A report on the entire event has been published based on discussions from the entire event. You can open or download that report here.


    Thursday, 7 January 2016
    Women at SciTech Happy Hour and Keynote    
    At AIAA SciTech 2016, 4–8 January 2016, San Diego, California

    Speaker: Ann Zulkosky, Director, NASA Programs, Washington Operations, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company

    Women are underrepresented in engineering sciences and the aerospace industry. To encourage and support our women members, AIAA and the AIAA Diversity Working Group are co-sponsoring the “Women at SciTech Happy Hour and Keynote”. The intent of the event is to celebrate women’s accomplishments in aerospace and aeronautics and to provide an opportunity for women to network and share their experiences in a supportive environment. All are welcome, including men who believe that diversity is imperative to a productive workplace.


    Tuesday, 5 January 2016
    Membership Matters: How Far Will You Go?    
    At AIAA SciTech 2016, 4–8 January 2016, San Diego, California

    Did you know there are six grades of AIAA membership spanning from Student Member to Honorary Fellow? Membership elevation is a step toward recognition of one’s professional status and accomplishments. In this panel session, hosted by the AIAA Diversity Working Group, learn how to apply for and encourage nomination of members who qualify for membership advancements.

    Moderators: Susan Frost, Research Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center; Hsiao-hua Burke, Principal Staff, MIT-Lincoln Lab




    • Luisella Giulicchi, Spacecraft Engineering and AIV Manager, European Space Agency
    • Basil Hassan, Senior Manager, Sandia National Laboratories
    • Helen L Reed, Professor, Texas A&M University
    • Achille Messac, Professor, Mississippi State University
    • Mary L Snitch, Senior Manager, Lockheed Martin


    Highlights from this event can be found in this post within the Diversity Working Group LinkedIn subgroup page.

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    Get Engaged

    Thanks for coming to this page to learn more about this important issue!  One great way to get engaged with the Diversity Working Group is to join AIAA's first-ever LinkedIn "subgroup" which is focused on diversity. As a member of AIAA's Diversity LinkedIn subgroup you will be notified about articles, announcements, and related discussions.  You will also be able to start discussions, contribute articles, and participate in online dialogues. Encouraging and enabling that participation among AIAA members and leadership is a fundamental reason for this group.


      Contact Us Diversity Workgroup Act Now DWG LinkedIn Button

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    The DWG, under the leadership of Jandria Alexander (The Aerospace Corporation), currently consists of four subgroups that are led by volunteer leaders appointed from the AIAA membership by the Diversity Working Group Chair:


    Outreach Subgroup

    Lead: Geeth Chettiar
    This subgroup identifies and recommends academic, industry, government, and nonprofit organizations with which AIAA should formulate strategic partnerships.  The objective is to combine resources and expertise to increase awareness and representation of our underrepresented constituencies.


    Diversity Programming Subgroup

    Lead: Hsiao-hua Burke
    This subgroup identifies and develops programs that will provide education, awareness, support, and growth of diversity within AIAA. An initial goal is to organize events to promote diversity at key AIAA National Conferences and Forums.  In addition to benefiting the general audience, these events will support women and underrepresented constituents in providing better networking opportunities.


    Leadership, Growth, and Retention Subgroup

    Lead: VACANT
    This subgroup identifies and develops opportunities that will foster leadership and growth of underrepresented constituencies and identify and develop opportunities that will encourage  underrepresented constituencies connected to AIAA.


    Communications Subgroup

    Lead: Brett Hoffstadt
    This subgroup communicates with AIAA members, sponsors, and the public about diversity efforts within AIAA.

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