Alumni News

Awards, recognitions and accomplishments from AAE grads around the world

Alumni News | Aerogram Magazine | Purdue University School of Aeronautics

Alumni News

Six alumni inducted as Outstanding Aerospace Engineers 

Recipients of the OAE award.

Purdue AAE awarded six alumni who have demonstrated excellence in their work reflecting the value of an aerospace engineering degree. The honor of 2023 Outstanding Aerospace Engineer (OAE) was presented to, in the order pictured above:

  • Steven Wanthal (BSAAE ’85, MSAAE ’87, PhD AAE ’89)
  • Scott Claflin (MSAAE ’87)
  • Cyrus Sigari (BSAAE ’03)
  • James Winkelman (BSAAE ’92)
  • Sirisha Bandla (BSAAE ’11), 2022 awardee
  • John Tsohas (MSAAE ’05, PhD AAE ’09)
  • Cynthia Mahler (BSAAE ’98) not pictured

Distinguished Engineering Alumni

Recipients of the DEA award.

Three AAE graduates received the Purdue College of Engineering’s highest alumni honor, the Distinguished Engineering Alumni (DEA) award. Alumni must first receive the school’s OAE award to be eligible for DEA. The 2023 recipients are:

  • Julie A. Kramer White (BSAAE ’90, OAE ’17), director of engineering at NASA Johnson Space Center
  • James P. Renna (BSAAE ’86, OAE ’10), retired chief engineer for Sikorsky Aircraft
  • William J. Uhrig (BSAAE ’82, OAE ’14) president and managing partner of Three Cities Research

Other Alumni Accomplishments

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Beth Moses

Beth Moses (BSAAE ’92, MSAAE ’94, OAE ‘18), chief astronaut instructor at Virgin Galactic, led three groups of space tourists on commercial suborbital flights aboard the company’s VSS Unity ship — one flight each in August, September and October 2023. Moses was also on an all-employee launch in March, bringing her total trips to space up to six.

Tony Gingiss and Darin DiTommaso

Left: Tony Gingiss (BSAAE ’90, OAE ’19), left, joined Terran Orbital as its chief operating officer. The company is a global leader in satellite-based solutions. Right: Darin DiTommaso (BSAAE ’88, OAE ‘20) is now vice president of engineering for GE Edison Works.

Matsumi, Smith, Pearson

Left: Yen Matsutomi (BSAAE ’03, MSAAE ’05, PhD AAE ’09, OAE ‘20), vice president of engine design at Blue Origin, received the Career Achievement Award from the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers. Center: Natalie Smith (MSAAE '11, PhD AAE '15) earned the Dedicated Service Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). She is a group leader in rotating machinery dynamics Southwest Research Institute. Right: Erika Pearson (BSAAE ’93) became Boeing’s vice president of commercial sales and marketing over Southeast Asia and Oceania.

Amy Comeau and Vivek Muralidharan

Left: Amy Comeau (BSAAE ’18) was named a 20 Under 35 by Space & Satellite Professionals International for 2023. She is a lead member of the CST-100 Starliner Chief Engineer’s Office at Boeing. Right: Vivek Muralidharan (MSAAE ’17, PhD AAE ’21), a post-doctoral researcher at University of Luxembourg, made the list in 2022.

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