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Donna Jennings, a doctoral student in aerospace engineering at Missouri S&T, has received a prestigious 2020 Amelia Earhart Fellowship from Zonta International Foundation. She is one of the 35 recipients of this award from all over the world in 2020. The award was established in 1938 in honor of famed pilot and Zontian, Amelia Earhart and the purpose of the award is to empower women through encouragement and financial support pursuing a Ph.D./doctoral degree. The student must demonstrate a superior academic record in the field of aerospace-related sciences or aerospace-related engineering. In the most recent years, Jennings is the third student the aerospace engineering doctoral program at S&T to receive this significant award and they are in great company with other awardees being from notable universities including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Purdue University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Texas A&M University.
Jennings’ key goal of her research is to develop a method of determining “natural” formations within the nonlinear, and often unstable, dynamics of the system that can be used as a tool in swarm mission planning. The focus of this work is to identify relative formations in the vicinity of the collinear libration points of interest to NASA.
As a fourth-year aerospace engineering doctoral student, Jennings received her bachelor’s degree from S&T in May 2016. Her research interest include small satellites and astrodynamics. She is currently the graduate student advisor for the GNC subsystem for the Missouri S&T Satellite Research Team. Her future plans are to work in academia where she can fulfill her strong desire to teach and conduct research. Long-term, she wants to secure a faculty position that allows her to serve as a role model to other females in STEM that aspire to become leaders in their fields.
More information on the Amelia Earhart fellowship, the list of 2020 fellows and their bios can be found on the fellowship website https://foundation.zonta.org/Our-Programs/Educational-Programs/Amelia-Earhart-Fellowship.