NASA Aviation Safety Manager Helps Put Students on New Trajectory
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
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
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
"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
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.