The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) announced the recipients of their Professional Awards for 2020. These honors are part of the AISES Professional Awards program, which celebrates the contributions of Indigenous innovators and professionals in six award categories – Executive Excellence, Technical Excellence, Most Promising Engineer or Scientist, Blazing Flame, Indigenous Excellence, and the Professional of the Year.
All of the professional winners will be celebrated a virtual awards ceremony hosted by AISES at the 2020 National Conference on October 15-17.
Congratulations to Laura Smith-Velazquez (Cherokee Nation) for Receiving the Technical Excellence Award!
The Technical Excellence nominee has made a significant contribution to science, engineering, or technology by having designed, developed, managed, or assisted in the development of a product, service, system or intellectual property.
Laura served as a Human Factors and Systems Engineer at Collins Aerospace in the Advanced Avionics Technology department developing Supersonic flight technology. Laura’s work at Collins Aerospace focused on intelligent automation design in both flight deck and unmanned systems to include human autonomy teaming. She served as the Principal Investigator on the NASA Sonic Boom Display program to enable commercial supersonic transport over land. She holds five patents on supersonic flight deck technology as well as vehicle systems safety intelligent flight deck technology.
Laura holds a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science, a Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems engineering and minor in Meteorology & Flight Safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She holds commercial pilot, sUAS, and aircraft dispatcher certificates.
Laura is passionate about STEM education. She has been a volunteer STEM educator for over 15 years as an Aerospace Education Officer in Civil Air Patrol, a NASA STEM educator for the Sally Ride Program, a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and a mentor for the Rosie Riveters STEM program. She is an advocate for women and Native Americans in STEM through her work as the Native American Affinity Group Champion for the Society of Women Engineers. She is an AISES member, and Commander of Mount Airy Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol. She is an astronaut candidate for the Mars One program for the first human mission to Mars.
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