Women in Aerospace tabs Marais as Aerospace Educator Award winner

Karen Marais, who joined AAE faculty in 2009, will be recognized for "excellent leadership and sustained dedication to aerospace education" and "tenacious advocacy for girls and young women in aerospace," a release from WIA said.

An AAE professor has been selected to receive the 2021 Aerospace Educator Award by Women in Aerospace (WIA).

Karen Marais
AAE Professor Karen Marais

Karen Marais, who joined AAE faculty in 2009, will be recognized for excellent leadership and sustained dedication to aerospace education” and “tenacious advocacy for girls and young women in aerospace,” a release from WIA said.

The awards committee, comprised of volunteers from industry, government and nonprofit/academia, considers nominees’ excellence as a full-time educator teaching aerospace topics at the K-12, collegiate or graduate levels; motivation of students to excel in aerospace-related educational endeavors; service to colleagues and community; commitment to professional growth; and service as a role model or mentor that shows dedication to the advancement of women in aerospace.   

Thirty other women have received the award, first presented in 1990. AAE alumna Seetha Raghavan, a professor at the University of Central Florida, was the last recipient in 2019.

“Wow, what a wonderful surprise! I am truly honored to be joining a list of such distinguished women, including some who personally inspired me on my own journey through graduate school,” Marais said. “I would like to also thank Professor Li Qiao for nominating me, and especially my former student Madison Shoemaker for writing a letter of support.”

The Aerospace Educator Award is not the first recognition Marais has received for teaching excellence and inspiring students. She earned Purdue University’s highest undergraduate teaching honor, the Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Teacher Award, in March and has won AAE’s outstanding teaching awards (W.A. Gustafson Award and Elmer F. Bruhn Award).

Marais will receive the WIA award at the WIA Awards Ceremony and Banquet on Oct. 14, 2021 at The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City in Arlington, Va. The annual event is dedicated to celebrating women’s professional excellence in aerospace, honoring women whose contributions to the community are “legendary,” WIA’s website said.

WIA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding women’s opportunities for leadership and to increasing their visibility within the aerospace community.

Publish date: August 25, 2021