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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    CONTACT: John Blacksten



    AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala to Confer Top Honors

    Black-Tie Event Honors Aerospace's Best and Brightest

    March 2, 2017 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has announced the 2017 recipients of its most prestigious awards. Presentation of these awards and recognition of the Institute’s newly elected Fellows and Honorary Fellows will take place on May 3 at the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

    The winners are:

    • AIAA Foundation Award for Excellence: NASA Langley Research Center

    • AIAA Goddard Astronautics Award: William Gerstenmaier, NASA

    • AIAA Reed Aeronautics Award: Edward Greitzer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    • AIAA International Cooperation Award: Melissa Rivers, NASA Langley Research Center; John Vassberg, The Boeing Company; and Richard Wahls, NASA Langley Research Center

    • AIAA Distinguished Service Award: Robert Winn, Engineering Systens Inc.

    • AIAA Public Service Award: Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., U.S. Marine Corps(retired) and NASA

    • AIAA Foundation Educator Achievement Awards: Kathy Biernat, St. Mary's Visitation School, Elm Grove, Wisconsin: Tracey Dodrill, Cocopah Middle School, Scottsdale, Arizona; Alexandra Kindrat, St. Thomas High School, Kirkland, Quebec, Canada: David Root, Lyons Township High School, LeGrange, Illinois; and Kevin Simmons, The Weiss School, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

    “AIAA premier award winners represent the best and the brightest our community has to offer,” said AIAA President Jim Maser. “They illustrate the good that comes about when people ask ‘why not?’ and then set out to make today’s dreams tomorrow’s realities. The awards also recognize those who have devoted their life to inspiring the next generation of our community. Each of these individuals has shaped the future of aerospace through their efforts, insights and talent and we thank them for their work and salute them.”

    For more information on the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala recipients, please contact Carol Stewart at 703.264.7538.

    To purchase tables at the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala, please contact Chris Semon at 703.264.7510 or To purchase individual seats at the Gala, please visit


    About AIAA
    AIAA is the world’s largest aerospace professional society, serving a diverse range of more than 30,000 individual members from 88 countries, and nearly 100 corporate members. AIAA members help make the world safer, more connected, more accessible, and more prosperous. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.



    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    12700 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 200, Reston, VA 20191-5807
    Phone: 703.264.7558 Fax: 703.264.7551