Awards




The AIAA Greater Huntsville Section’s Hermann Oberth Award
(Click to see video about the casting of the award.)

Professor Hermann Oberth

Professor Hermann Oberth is one of the three founders of modern rocketry and space travel, together with Konstantin Tsiolokovsky and Dr. Robert Goddard.  Oberth’s book “The Rocket Into Planetary Space” describing issues of rocketry and human spaceflight was published in 1923.  Oberth worked with Wernher von Braun at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency during 1955-1958, and was a member of our section.


Each year the Greater Huntsville Section solicits nominations for its Section awards. The Awards Committee recommends recipients to the Section Council for its approval, and the awards are then presented at the annual Installation and Awards Dinner held in May.

The AIAA Greater Huntsville Annual Section Awards are summarized below, with links to the 2018-2019 award recipients.

1) The Konrad Dannenberg Educator of the Year Award is is presented to a Section member in recognition of outstanding service to education and promotion of math and science within the community.  The award is named in recognition of  Konrad Dannenberg, a German-American rocket pioneer who was an avid proponent of education, an active member of the AIAA and an inspiration to the aerospace community. Click to learn about 2018-2019 recipient Dr. Norman O. Speakman.

2) The Hermann Oberth Award is presented to a Section member in recognition of outstanding individual scientific achievement in the field of astronautics or for the promotion and advancement of the aeronautical sciences. A bust of Professor Hermann Oberth and a framed certificate are presented to the recipient. Click to learn about 2018-2019 recipient Dr. Rani Sullivan.

3) The Holger Toftoy Award is presented to a Section member in recognition of outstanding technical management in the fields of aeronautics and astronautics. An engraved plaque is presented to the recipient.  Click to learn about 2018-2019 recipient Mr. Robert Champion.

4) The Martin Schilling Award is presented to a Section member in recognition of outstanding service to the Section, such as major contributions to its growth, technical programs, or administrative functions. The award is named for the Section's founding president, Dr. Martin Schilling. Click to learn about 2018-2019 recipient MAJ Alex Jehle.

5) The Earl Pearce Professional of the Year Award is presented to a Section member in recognition of extraordinary dedication, creativity, and leadership while engaged in professional work or activity within the aerospace community. The award is named in recognition of Earl Pearce who was on the Section Council and served as Supernumerary for many years. An engraved plaque is presented to the recipient.  Click to learn about 2018-2019 recipient Mr. Chris Crumbly.

6) The Ed Pruett Young Professional of the Year Award is presented to a Section member of 35 years of age or younger who has demonstrated extraordinary technical skill and dedication in the practice of the Aerospace Engineering profession. The award is named in recognition of Ed Pruett who was on the Section Council and served the Section for many years.  An engraved plaque is presented to the recipient. Click to learn about 2018-2019 recipient Ms. Lauren Badia.

7) The Undergraduate Student of the Year Award is presented to an undergraduate student Section member in recognition of notable technical accomplishments, active engineering research, outstanding service to the AIAA student section, or active STEM outreach in the local community. An engraved plaque is presented to the recipient. Click to learn about 2018-2019 recipient Ms. Kelly Burnham.

8) The Graduate Student of the Year Award is presented to a graduate student Section member in recognition of notable technical accomplishments, active engineering research, outstanding service to the AIAA student section, or active STEM outreach in the local community. An engraved plaque is presented to the recipient. Click to learn about 2018-2019 recipient Mr. Langston Williams.




KONRAD DANNENBERG EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD

HONOREE FOR 2018-2019: Dr. Norman O. Speakman

Photo by Arloe Mayne

Chairman MAJ Alex Jehle, Presenter Mr. Kenny Mitchell, Educator of the Year Award recipient Dr. Norman O. Speakman, and Dr. Joseph Majdalani


Dr. Norman O. Speakman earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Auburn University and his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida. He has a professional career that spans more than forty-five years and covers experience in the military, federal government, the aerospace industry and academia. He began his professional career at Eglin AFB as a commissioned Air Force officer serving as an aerospace and electrical engineer at the USAF Armament Laboratory. Upon completion of his military duty, he held an aerospace engineering position as an Air Force civilian at Eglin AFB. He supported numerous advanced research and technology missile projects and was program director of a nationally recognized research effort in optimal control theory applied to missile guidance problems. His research interests included guidance and control, state estimation methods and system theory. During his Air Force tenure, Dr. Speakman served on the AIAA Guidance and Control Technical Committee. After leaving government service, Dr. Speakman held key engineering and management positions at General Research Corporation, Amtec Corporation and the Georgia Tech Research Institute in Huntsville, Alabama. Dr. Speakman contributed to many weapon system research, development and technology programs critical to our national defense; authoring and co-authoring numerous technical publications. Dr. Speakman came to the Aerospace Engineering Department at Auburn University in 2013 and brought forty years of practical engineering experience to the classroom. This valuable experience has allowed Dr. Speakman to provide "real world" guidance and advice to graduating seniors entering the aerospace engineering profession. He teaches courses in aircraft design, missile design, flight dynamics, fundamentals of aerospace engineering and aerospace systems. He was presented the  2014 Most Outstanding Faculty award by the AIAA student chapter at Auburn. Dr. Speakman is also the recipient of the Air Force Systems Command Science & Engineering Technical Achievement Award, the Air Force Armament Laboratory Scientist of the Year Award, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and is a first runner-up for the Harold Brown Award. Dr. Speakman and his wife, Donna, reside in Auburn, Alabama, and have three children and nine grandchildren.

(Click to return to top of Awards)



HERMANN OBERTH AWARD

HONOREE FOR 2018-2019: Dr. Rani Sullivan


Photo by Arloe Mayne

Chairman MAJ Alex Jehle, Dr. Rani Sullivan with Oberth Award, and Dr. Joseph Majdalani


Rani Warsi Sullivan is a Professor of Aerospace Engineering (ASE) at Mississippi State University (MSU) and the holder of the Richard H. Johnson Endowed Chair. She is the Director of the High Performance Composite Materials Laboratory in ASE. Her professional experience includes faculty fellowships at NASA Glenn and the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson AFB. Dr. Sullivan’s research spans structural health monitoring, optical sensors, manufacturing and rapid prototyping, mechanical and non-destructive testing of polymer matrix composite materials and large scale structures for aerospace applications. Her research in these areas is published in over 75 journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings. Recent research in the area of mapping composite structure delamination using distributed optical sensing garnered the 2018 George Stephenson Gold Medal. She is the founder and advisor for the Women of Aerospace student organization at MSU. Dr. Sullivan is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and a member of the AIAA Structures Technical Committee. She is a recipient of the 2014 SAE International Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award and a member of the MSU Bagley College of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Teachers. She received BS, MS and PhD degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Mississippi State University.

  (Click to return to top of Awards)



HOLGER TOFTOY AWARD

HONOREE FOR 2018-2019: Mr. Robert Champion


Photo by Arloe Mayne

Chairman MAJ Alex Jehle, Mr. Robert Champion with Toftoy Award, and Dr. Joseph Majdalani


Mr. Robert Champion, Deputy Director of the Propulsion Systems Department at Marshall Space Flight Center, is a 32-year-NASA veteran.

Appointed the Senior Executive Service in 2012, he has served as Deputy Director of the Space Systems Department and as Deputy Director and Chief Operations Officer of the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

He was chief engineer in the Propulsion System Engineering & Integration Office in Marshall's Space Shuttle Propulsion Office. He was the NASA project manager for the Boeing Orbital Space Plane Project, the Auxiliary Propulsion Project for the Next Generation Launch Vehicle Program and the Managed the X-34 Main Propulsion System Development team. He has supported numerous NASA programs and projects, including all Space Shuttle Propulsion Elements; Rocket-Based Combined Cycle propulsion technology; Fastrac 60K engine; X-33 and X-34 experimental vehicle programs.

Throughout his NASA career, Champion has received awards including the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the NASA Medal for Exceptional Service; Space Flight Honoree; Director's Commendation; the NASA Contracting Officers Technical Representative of the Year Award; among other awards. Recently, he was selected as an AIAA Associate Fellow.

Mr. Champion began his NASA career in 1986 as a propulsion engineer in the Preliminary Design Office at Marshall. He earned a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., in 1986.

  (Click to return to top of Awards)



MARTIN SCHILLING AWARD

HONOREE FOR 2018-2019: MAJ Alex Jehle


Photo by Arloe Mayne

Chairman Alex Jehle receiving Schilling Award from Dr. Joseph Majdalani


Major Alex Jehle is an Active Duty Army Officer serving as a Principle Investigator in the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's Technical Center's Space Systems Division. Previous positions include: the Secretary of the General Staff, USASMDC/ARSTRAT, Chief of Space Operations for the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site (RTS) Operations Center - Huntsville (ROC-H); Army Fellow in the Technology Development and Transfer Office, NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center; Army Space Support Team Leader, 2nd Space Company, 1st Space Battalion; Company Commander, Forward Support Company, 5th Engineer Battalion; Facility Engineer, 286th Combat Service Support Battalion (Forward Kandahar, Afghanistan); Executive Officer, 98th Maintenance Battalion; and Platoon Leader 4th Quartermaster Detachment (Airborne), 17th Combat Service Support Battalion.

Alex graduated from the University of Arizona in 2006 with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. He graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2012 with a Masters of Aeronautical Science in Aerospace Management. He is accepted to the Colorado School of Mines as a PhD candidate in the Space Resources Program, starting this August.

  (Click to return to top of Awards)



EARL PEARCE PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR AWARD

HONOREE FOR 2018-2019: Mr. Chris Crumbly


Photo by Arloe Mayne

Chairman MAJ Alex Jehle and Dr. Joseph Majdalani with Professional of the Year recipient Mr. Chris Crumbly (center)

Chris Crumbly is the Executive Director of the Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation (VCSI)—an organization committed to the engagement of the academic community to help meet today’s challenges in space and defense technology. Previously, Mr. Crumbly was the Vice President for Business Development, Civil and Commercial Space at Teledyne Brown Engineering. After a 25-year career at the NASA, Mr. Crumbly retired and entered the business community.

While at NASA, Mr. Crumbly managed the SLS Program’s Spacecraft/ Payload Integration and Evolution Office, located at NASA’s MSFC. He was responsible for managing the development of spacecraft and payload interfaces for SLS and technical innovations that will increase the performance and decrease the cost of America’s next-generation heavy-lift rocket for human and scientific exploration beyond Earth’s orbit. In addition to serving in management positions at Marshall, he also served as Special Assistant to NASA’s Deputy Administrator and Senior Space Policy Analyst at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

A native of Rome, Ga., Mr. Crumbly holds both bachelor and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering from Auburn University and is a graduate of the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School. He speaks on the space program frequently with audiences ranging from school groups to professional societies. Mr. Crumbly serves on several professional and civic boards. He serves on the Auburn Engineering Alumni Council as Chair of the Research Committee and a member of the Executive Committee; the Board for the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation; and, is past chair of the Auburn Aerospace Engineering Advisory Council. He is a board member for the Huntsville Space Club, the American Astronautical Society, and the Greater Huntsville Section of AIAA. He is an Associate Fellow of AIAA and the 2019 AIAA Von Braun awardee for Excellence in Space Program Management.

(Click to return to top of Awards)



ED PRUETT YOUNG PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR AWARD

HONOREE FOR 2018-2019: Ms. Lauren Badia


Photo by Arloe Mayne

Ms. Lauren Badia, recipient of the Young Professional of the Year Award (center) with Chairman MAJ Alex Jehle and Dr. Joseph Majdalani


Lauren A. Badía has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. She has worked at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center for 10 years, specializing in Vehicle Structures Design.

Part of her recent work at NASA includes designing and testing Hat Stiffened Composite Structures for technology development, and being the Structures Design Lead for the Automated Construction of Expeditionary Structures (ACES-3), a large-scale concrete 3D printer for the US Army Corps of Engineers.

She is currently the Structures, Mechanisms, and Thermal Control Lead for the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), which is part of the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission campaign. The mission will use robotic systems and the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) to collect and send samples of Martian rocks, soils and atmosphere to Earth for detailed chemical and physical analysis.

Lauren has been a member of AIAA for 10 years transitioning from a student member to a professional member and now to a lifetime and senior member. She has volunteered in multiple section activities and has been a member of several committees, including the AIAA Young Professionals Symposium in 2016 and 2017. She was also a Council Member and Treasurer from 2017-2018. In 2017 she participated in the AIAA Congressional Visits Day in Washington DC, where she talked to Alabama lawmakers about key issues regarding the aerospace and defense industry.

(Click to return to top of Awards)



UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT OF THE YEAR AWARD

HONOREE FOR 2018-2019: Ms. Kelly Burnham


Photo by Arloe Mayne

Chairman MAJ Alex Jehle, Undergraduate Student of the Year Ms. Kelly Burnham, and Dr. Joseph Majdalani


Kelly Burnham is a senior aerospace engineering from Auburn University, although she lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She was born on October 14

th, 1995 in Anniston, Alabama— exactly 48 years after Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier! She decided to become an aerospace engineer in the fourth grade and aspires to work in the hypersonics field, particularly on scramjets or other exotic propulsion systems. After graduation, she intends to pursue a Master’s degree or work at NASA for a few years, followed by a doctorate in hypersonics. Afterwards, she intends to continue working for NASA as a specialist and eventually return to Auburn University as a professor. (Click to return to top of Awards)



GRADUATE STUDENT OF THE YEAR AWARD

HONOREE FOR 2018-2019: Mr. Langston Williams


Photo by Arloe Mayne

Chairman MAJ Alex Jehle, Graduate Student of the Year Mr. Langston Williams, and Dr. Joseph Majdalani


Langston Williams is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Auburn University. He received his B.S. in Mathematics from Lenoir-Rhyne University (2015) and his M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Auburn University (2018). His research focus includes deriving analytical solutions and computationally modeling cyclonic flowfields as well as modeling swirl-based phenomena using computational fluid dynamics. In 2018, Langston received the Abe M. Zarem Award for Distinguished Achievement from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Foundation. He was selected for the honor based on his paper on cyclonic rocket engines, which was also chosen among seven AIAA regions as the best graduate student paper. Langston also performs cold-flow analyses on Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Vortex Engine. In addition to his research, Langston serves as a math and science tutor for undergraduate students, and has designed and instructed the calculus curriculum for the Alabama Power Academic Excellence Program, held during the summer. Langston is currently serving as the Academic Excellence Chair for the Auburn University Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and is extremely passionate about improving the quality of education for underrepresented students.

(Click to return to top of Awards)