Every so often, someone comes along who is going to change the world. A longtime staple of Aviation Week’s annual Laureate awards has been to recognize young achievers with the potential to be future Laureates. The Tomorrow’s Leaders awards recognize one outstanding student from each of the four U.S. military service academies who are pursuing careers in aerospace. This year that recognition was expanded, in partnership with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), to include the 20 Twenties, a group of 20 science, technology, engineering and math students from around the world who set themselves apart with their academic acumen, research and design achievements, and service in giving back to the community.

As the kickoff to this year’s Laureate presentations, Aviation Week President Greg Hamilton and AIAA Executive Director Sandra H. Magnus, a veteran NASA astronaut who served aboard the International Space Station for 4.5 months, recognized each of the young achievers. Write-ups on each of the 20 Twenties appeared last month in Aviation Week (AW&ST Feb. 29-March 13, p. 60). The four recipients of the Tomorrow’s Leaders awards are: 

  • Cadet Capt. Chase Binkley, who is studying mechanical engineering, with a focus in aerospace studies at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. Binkley leads a West Point design team that is developing a rotation-free projectile. Last year, he shadowed Army experimental test pilots and civilian engineers at the Army’s Redstone Test Center to learn about aircraft performance testing and evaluation. After graduating in May, he will report to Fort Rucker, Alabama, to begin officer and aviation flight training. 
  • Cadet Second Class Quinn Kelley Hathcock is a mechanical engineer at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. He is responsible for a pilot shadow program that allows cadets to interact on a weekly basis with pilots and crews from CGAS Cape Cod in Massachusetts, providing cadets with a comprehensive look at the duties and responsibilities of Coast Guard aviators. Hathcock is enrolled in private pilot lessons and helped create space for an aviation simulator that will introduce Coast Guard cadets to the basic concepts of flying. His long-term goal is to attend flight school and become an aviation engineer for the Coast Guard. 
  • Midshipman Shane Kravetz is studying astronautical engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. His academic pursuits include an internship at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory and a semester in Israel to study electrical engineering at Tel Aviv University. As assistant leader of the Navy Rockets Team, Kravetz and his peers are competing in the NASA Student Launch Centennial Challenge to develop a Mars Ascension Vehicle proof of concept. After graduating in May, he will report to NAS Pensacola, Florida, to begin pilot training. 
  • Cadet First Class Andrew David “Drew” Phillips is majoring in aeronautical engineering, with an emphasis on stability and control, at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. A private pilot and glider instructor pilot, he is chief engineer on a student team tasked with designing a specialized aircraft for the Air Force Research Laboratory.  He was an intern researcher at the A-10 System Program Office and led a team of engineering students in designing a Raptor Wingman unmanned aircraft for a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency competition. Phillips broadened his academic background by completing a minor in Arabic and an immersion program in Moroccan culture. He also began a STEM outreach program that uses aviation to inspire youth in the field of engineering. Currently ranked fifth in the academy’s 800-member Class of 2016, he hopes to attend graduate school before his assignment as a student in the Euro-NATO Jet Pilot Training program at Sheppard AFB, Texas.

“So there you have it,” Hamilton said after each of the cadets and 20 Twenties had been recognized. “Two dozen young achievers who will help shape the future of aerospace.” 


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This story is a selection from the March 21, 2016 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology. New content posted daily online.

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