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Aviation Week Network Announces 20 Twenties Winners for 2019

Top Technology Students to be Honored March 14 at Laureates Awards Gala

Aviation Week Network, in collaboration with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), today announced the winners of its awards program, “Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders: The 20 Twenties.”

The awards recognize students earning STEM degrees who are nominated by their universities on the basis of their academic performance, civic contribution and research or design project. Most importantly, the program brings together technology hiring managers, students and faculty around the world to recognize what’s needed for business and academic success. The students begin building a network comprised of the technical experts who have built the industry, the universities gain visibility for high-quality educational opportunity provided to the students, and hiring managers gain knowledge about the best of the best in the next generation of aerospace talent.

“Prominent universities nominated their top students for the prestigious 20 Twenties program, which was established in 2013 to recognize and cultivate the next generation of aerospace and defense leaders,” Greg Hamilton, Aviation Week Network president, said. “The future of the industry depends on these rising stars whose academic talents, high-value research and civic service, as well as their creativity and innovation, are sure to change the face of the industry.”

“This year’s 20 Twenties winners reflect the passion, ingenuity, and remarkable talent found within the aerospace community,” said Daniel L. Dumbacher, AIAA executive director. “As they make important contributions to their fields of study, they are also working to make the world a better place. These students are not just ‘shaping the future of aerospace,’ but also that of humanity, and each is uniquely worthy of this honor.”

This year’s recognition program had qualified nominees from 42 different universities representing nine countries. The winners will be honored during Aviation Week Network’s 62nd Annual Laureates Awards March 14 at the National Building Museum, Washington, DC. The 2019 20 Twenties winners are (in alphabetical order):

  • Mazen Albazzan, University of South Carolina
  • Aaron Blacker, Purdue University
  • Ryan Blay, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Joseph Ryan Block, University of Kansas
  • Fatak Borhani, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
  • Adam Boro, University of Maryland
  • Casey Evans, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Alexis Harroun, Purdue University
  • Stewart Isaacs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Emily Jewell, Stanford University
  • Akshay Kadhiresan, Cornell University
  • Siddarth Kaki, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Frank Kozel, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Vaibhav Kumar, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Mark Moretto, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Adam Patel, Purdue University
  • Samantha Rocker, Virginia Tech
  • Linda Rossmann, University of Central Florida
  • Peyton Strickland, The University of Alabama
  • Jessica Zhu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

For more information about 20 Twenties Awards, please contact Carla Sands at carla.sands@aviationweek.com.



The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 85 countries, and 95 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit www.aiaa.org, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.


Aviation Week Network, a division of Informa plc, is the largest multimedia information and services provider for the global aviation, aerospace, and defense industries, serving 1.7 million professionals around the world. Industry professionals rely on Aviation Week Network to help them understand the market, make decisions, predict trends, and connect with people and business opportunities. Customers include the world's leading aerospace manufacturers and suppliers, airlines, airports, business aviation operators, militaries, governments and other organizations that serve this worldwide marketplace. Aviation Week Network’s portfolio delivers award-winning journalism, data, intelligence and analytical resources, world-class tradeshows and conferences, and results-driven marketing services and advertising.


Informa PLC is a leading, international business to business information services Group, operating in over 30 countries. We create transaction-led exhibitions and content-based events, specialist data, intelligence and marketing services products, as well as scholarly research and specialist reference-led academic content. Our products and services help businesses and professionals connect, learn, do business and gain an edge over the competition. Informa is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 100.


Elizabeth Sisk  

Director, Marketing Communications  

Aviation Week Network 



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