National Women in Aerospace Scholarship Goes to MAE Student

Huynh, who won the Brooke Owens Fellowship in 2019 and the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship last year, is one of four winners this year of a merit-based WIA scholarship.

Feb. 5, 2021 - Amy Huynh, a Samueli School senior double majoring in aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering, has won one of only four 2020-21 Women in Aerospace Foundation (WIA) scholarships awarded nationally this year. The distinction recognizes promising young women who will serve as the next generation of female leaders in the aerospace industry.

Huynh, who won WIA’s $2,000 merit-based AIAA Digital Avionics Scholarship, is a first-generation low-income college student whose research focuses on how engineering internships affect the learning experiences of female engineering students. Her goal is to increase retention of women in engineering, ultimately making aerospace careers accessible for everyone and amplifying the voices of marginalized populations in the field.

The winner of last year’s Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship, which included a paid summer internship at Astra, a startup rocket manufacturer, Huynh took a gap year in 2019 to intern at NASA Goddard, where she worked on direct exoplanet detection. She also has interned at NASA Ames, where she worked in small satellite orbital analysis; at the Langley and Marshall NASA centers; and at space manufacturing company Made In Space, where she was involved with in-space additive manufacturing technologies.

In 2019 she was a Brooke Owens Fellow, and she now serves as a selection committee member for that fellowship as well as the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program and the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship. Additionally, she is an ambassador for EarthDNA, pursuing educational outreach and climate advocacy.

“Winning this prestigious scholarship was a really nice surprise,” Huynh said. “Sometimes it can be difficult to feel like I belong in aerospace or engineering in general, so it is reassuring to know there are people across the industry who believe in me, even when I am feeling doubtful. It is amazing to see my name on the same list as incredible women who inspire me, like Kathryn Lueders, who is leading NASA's human spaceflight program, and Lori Garver, who is my courageous ‘Space Mom’ through the Brooke Owens Fellowship. I only hope that I can make as much impact as they have in aerospace, and encourage students from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue space.” 

WIA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding women's opportunities for leadership and increasing their visibility within the aerospace community. Huynh will be formally recognized at the organization’s 35th annual awards dinner and ceremony next fall in Arlington, Virginia.

– Anna Lynn Spitzer