AIAA Foundation Announces its Graduate Award Winners Written 23 August 2016

John Blacksten

August 23, 2016 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation has announced the recipients of its seven Graduate Awards for the 2016–2017 academic year.

Each academic year the AIAA Foundation presents the Orville and Wilbur Wright Graduate Awards. These $5,000 awards, given in memory of the Wright brothers’ contributions to the evolution of flight, honor full-time graduate students. The winners are:

  • Robert Jacobi, University of Arizona, Prescott Arizona
  • Trevor Bennett, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

In addition, Connie Liu, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, received the Neil Armstrong Graduate Award. This $5,000 award honors the character and achievements of the late astronaut, military pilot and educator, Neil A. Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the moon.

Markus Geiss, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, received the John Leland Atwood Graduate Award. Established in 1999, the $1,250 award, sponsored by endowments from Rockwell and what is now The Boeing Company and named in memory of John Leland “Lee” Atwood, former chief executive officer of Rockwell, North America, recognizes a student actively engaged in research in the areas covered by the technical committees (TC) of AIAA.

Three AIAA TCs also presented graduate awards:

  • Evan Harrison, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, received the General Aviation Systems TC’s $1,000 William T. Piper Sr. General Aviation Systems Graduate Award.

  • Patrick Kenneally, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, received the Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) TC’s $2,500 GNC Graduate Award.

  • Vaibhav Kumar, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, received the Modeling and Simulation TC’s $3,500 Luis de Florez Graduate Award.

“Given the rising costs of pursuing graduate-level education, the AIAA Foundation is pleased to be able to make these awards available to deserving students,” said Jim Albaugh, chair of the AIAA Foundation. “We wish them the best in their research and look forward to their continued advancement of aerospace engineering and science.”

Learn more about the AIAA Foundation Graduate Awards Program.

About the AIAA Foundation
The AIAA Foundation seeks to “make it exciting, make it empowering, and make it fun.” That simple, compelling philosophy drives the Foundation’s commitment to math, science, and technology education. The AIAA Foundation offers a wealth of resources to support educators from K–12 through university: scholarships, classroom grants, design competitions, and student conferences, improving scientific literacy and advancing the arts and sciences of aerospace. For more information on the AIAA Foundation and its programs for students, teachers, and professionals, please visit


About AIAA 
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 85 countries, and 95 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information,, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.


American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 
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