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April 15, 2009
NASA Aviation Safety Manager Helps Put Students on New Trajectory

Dr. Amy Pritchett Image left: Dr. Amy Pritchett, Director of the Aviation Safety Program Office. Image credit: NASA/Paul Alers

NASA always has been committed to investing in university education programs that nurture new generations of scientists and engineers. Now the agency can point with pride to an employee whose commitment to aeronautics education prompted a professional society to name an undergraduate scholarship
for her.

NASA's new "walking" education program is Amy Pritchett, director of the Aviation Safety Program in NASA's Aeronautics Research Directorate in Washington. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, or AIAA, has created the
Dr. Amy R. Pritchett Digital Avionics Scholarship to recognize
her contributions.

The scholarship is one of four $2,000 undergraduate scholarships endowed each year by AIAA's Digital Avionics Technical Committee and maintained in perpetuity by the AIAA Foundation.

"I am a bit overwhelmed by this honor and can't thank the AIAA enough," said Pritchett, who is on loan to NASA from Georgia Institute of Technology, where she is the Davis S. Lewis Associate Professor in the School of Aerospace Engineering.

According to the AIAA, Pritchett was recognized for her efforts in support of the Digital Avionics Technical Committee and the IEEE/AIAA Digital Avionics Systems Conference, specifically to involve undergraduate students within the committee and at the conference.

"Dr. Pritchett certainly deserves this recognition. We are honored that she chose to be part of our team, and fortunate to be benefitting from the depth of her expertise in aviation safety," said Jaiwon Shin, NASA's associate administrator for aeronautics research. "Dr. Pritchett exemplifies the best of our efforts to foster collaborative research into effective solutions for the most pressing aviation concerns."

Pritchett joined NASA under a two-year intergovernmental personnel agreement in 2008. As director of NASA's Aviation Safety Program, Pritchett is responsible for the overall planning, management and evaluation of research to improve the safety attributes of current and future aircraft and of the Next Generation Air Transportation System.

Before joining NASA, Pritchett was the founder and director of the Georgia Tech Cognitive Engineering Center, where she managed an interdisciplinary research and education program spanning several domains in aerospace including cognitive engineering, piloted control, flight mechanics, guidance, navigation, automatic control and aerospace design methods. At Georgia Tech she also was selected by undergraduate students to receive the Faculty Excellence Award, which recognizes a faculty member who has the most significant impact on their education.

Pritchett has authored more than 170 technical publications and presentations, as well as established seven new courses in cognitive engineering, air traffic control and aerospace simulation methods. For her research, she has received the AIAA's Lawrence Sperry Award for top young aerospace engineers, and the RTCA federal advisory committee's William E. Jackson Award for contributions to aviation through graduate research.

Pritchett earned her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992, 1994 and 1997, respectively.



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Last Updated: April 15, 2009
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