AIAA Announces 2020 Sustained Service Award Winners Written 6 February 2020


CONTACT: Michele McDonald

2020 Sustained Service Award Winners. Left to right: Nancy F. Andersen, Brett A. Bednarcyk, Cassondra A. Dellinger, Dr. L. Michael Freeman, Jeffrey W. Hamstra, Christopher H. Jenkins, Mohammad Javed Khan, Joseph R. Marshall Jr., Eric J. Pencil, Denise S. Ponchak, and Oleg Yakimenko | AIAA–©

February 6, 2020 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Sustained Service Awards.

“AIAA’s volunteers are the aerospace community’s greatest resource,” said Dan Dumbacher, AIAA executive director. “They lead by example, using their talent and energy to help guide the industry and prepare for the next big challenge. We are grateful for their dedication and hard work.”

The AIAA Board of Directors created the award in 1999 “to recognize sustained, significant service and contributions to AIAA by members of the Institute.” The award recipient must be an AIAA member in good standing who has shown continuing dedication to the interests of the Institute by making significant and sustained contributions over a period of time, typically 10 years or more. Active participation and service at the local section/regional level, and/or the national level is a potential discriminator in the evaluation of candidates.

The 2020 Sustained Service Award winners are:

Nancy F. Andersen joined AIAA in 1989 and became an AIAA Fellow in 2018. She has over 30 years of experience leading teams in support of security, missile, and space programs. She earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland. Nancy currently works at Johns Hopkins University - Applied Physics Laboratory where she supports the Department of Homeland Security in performing systems engineering integration and analysis.

Ms. Andersen was recognized at the AIAA Systems Engineering Technical Committee meeting during the 2020 AIAA SciTech Forum “For sustained and diverse leadership contributions to AIAA through the Ground Testing Technical Committee, CASE, the Engineering and Technology Management Group, the Board of Directors, and the Council of Directors.”

An AIAA Associate Fellow, Brett A. Bednarcyk is a Materials Research Engineer at NASA Glenn Research Center responsible for the research and development of methods and tools for multiscale modeling and analysis of advanced composite materials and structures. He has contributed over 300 publications, including a comprehensive text on composite micromechanics.

Dr. Bednarcyk received the award at the AIAA Structures Technical Committee meeting during the 2020 AIAA SciTech Forum “For over 25 years of exceptional service to AIAA, the AIAA SciTech Forum, the SDM Conference, and the Structures Technical Committee.”

Cassondra A. Dellinger joined AIAA as a student member in 1994. After graduating she was active as an officer in the AIAA Atlanta Section. Since 2001 she has been responsible for facilitating the yearly Region II Student Conference as a way to give back to an event that had a great impact on her own life. She is an AIAA Senior Member.

Ms. Dellinger is receiving her award at the AIAA Region II Student Paper Competition “For sustained and dedicated service to AIAA’s Region II (South East) and its student members as Deputy Director of Education and Regional Student Conference Chair.”

Dr. L. Michael Freeman, Professor Emeritus of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Alabama, is an AIAA Associate Fellow and served as an AIAA Faculty Advisor from 1983 to 2013. Since his retirement in 2013, he has continued to serve the Region II Student Conference as a member of the Conference Planning Committee. In additional to several AIAA awards, he has received a Certificate of Commendation for his work with NASA Kennedy Space Center.

Dr. Freeman is receiving his award at the AIAA Region II Student Paper Competition “For sustained and dedicated service to AIAA’s Region II (South East) and to the University of Alabama Student Branch members as faculty advisor.”

A member of AIAA since 1992, Jeffrey W. Hamstra is a Senior Fellow at Lockheed Martin Corporation with a career spent in combat aircraft program management, air vehicle design, propulsion system integration and technology development. Mr. Hamstra is an AIAA Fellow, incoming chief of the Technical Activities Division, former Director of the AIAA Propulsion and Energy Group, and a graduate of the University of Michigan.

Mr. Hamstra is being recognized at the AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum “For outstanding and exemplary leadership of the Propulsion and Energy Group and long-standing support of technical activities within the Institute.”

Christopher H. Jenkins, Ph.D., PE, is Professor Emeritus at Montana State University. His interests include compliant structures and bio-inspired engineering. He has authored three textbooks and over 190 technical publications. Dr. Jenkins has edited several monographs, including the recent Testing Large Ultra-Lightweight Spacecraft. He is an Associate Fellow of AIAA.

He is being recognized “For over five decades of dedicated service to the Institute through distinguished leadership advancing the causes of the Gossamer and Spacecraft Structures Technical Committees.”

An AIAA Associate Fellow, Mohammad Javed Khan is a Professor and Head of the Aerospace Science Engineering Department at Tuskegee University. He has served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Aircraft and on the AIAA Applied Aerodynamics, Fluid Dynamics, and Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Technical Committees and the STEM K–12 Outreach Committee. He serves as the Faculty Advisor to the AIAA Tuskegee University Student Branch.

Dr. Khan is being recognized at an AIAA Greater Huntsville Section event “For sustained and dedicated service to the AIAA technical programs and to the Tuskegee University Student Branch members as faculty advisor.”

Joseph R. Marshall Jr. joined AIAA in 1993, and is currently an AIAA Associate Fellow. A systems engineer, he has 42 years of professional experience, mostly in space electronics and  systems and has been employed at GTE, IBM, Loral, Lockheed Martin, and BAE Systems. He was Chair of the AIAA Computer Systems Technical Committee and a member of the Standards Committee.

Mr. Marshall will be receiving his award at ASCEND in November “For over 25 years of continuous service to AIAA through Computer Systems Technical Committee leadership positions with a career focus on standardizing electronics for spaceborne systems.”

An AIAA Associate Fellow who joined AIAA in 1987, Eric J. Pencil is a lead Electric Propulsion System Engineer at NASA Glenn Research Center. He has been an active member of the AIAA Electric Propulsion Technical Committee and participated in the Wyld Propulsion Award selection committee. He was also a member of the Region III Board, as Deputy Director of Finance and also Young Professionals.

He is being honored “In recognition of sustained contributions to AIAA at the section, region, and national levels.”

An AIAA Associate Fellow, Denise S. Ponchak is the Associate Division Chief of the Communications and Intelligent Systems Division at NASA Glenn Research Center. Ms. Ponchak also served as an Aeronautical Communications Project Manager focusing on increasing the National Airspace System’s telecommunications capability, and as a Communications Systems Engineer supporting future satellite-based communications. She is presently a Deputy Director of the AIAA Information Systems Group.

Ms. Ponchak will be recognized at the 39th AIAA/IEEE Digital Avionics Systems Conference “For outstanding leadership to AIAA technical activities, the development and management of highly successful conferences, and the funding of scholarships for future aerospace professionals.”

AIAA Associate Fellow Oleg Yakimenko served as a Chair of the AIAA Point Lobos Section and now serves as a Deputy Director of Education of Region VI. He is a longtime member of the AIAA Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics book series, and a member and current Chair of the Aerodynamic Decelerators Systems Technical Committee.

Professor Yakimenko will be recognized at the AIAA DEFENSE Forum in May “In recognition of significant and sustained contributions to AIAA at the local, regional, and national levels.”

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, visit, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.


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