Agnes Blom, a Dutch doctoral student in aerospace engineering at the Delft University of Technology, has won the prestigious Boeing-sponsored Flight International Engineering Student of the Year Award.

Blom, 26, who won for her research in the development of advanced, variable-stiffness composite laminate, is the first female winner. She was presented with her prize during Fight’s 100th-anniversary celebration dinner.

The three retired senior Boeing aerospace engineers who judged the competition were unanimous in their verdict. One of them, Frank DeMattia, says: “Blom stood out as the clear winner on the basis of her approach to the work.”

 Agnes Blom

Blom says: “It was a real surprise to me that I won. The award is a great motivator for young people coming into the industry.” She is studying at the Netherlands’ largest technical university, and expects to complete her doctorate by the end of 2009.

Second place went to Juan Mejia from the University of Illinois for his work in distributed control and co-ordination of autonomous vehicles. Four other contestants received honourable mentions: Daniel Kwon from Massachusetts Institute of Technology; James Villarreal from Arizona State University; and Manu Sharma and Anirban Basu, both from the University of Illinois.

This is the third year of the competition. It is open to any full- or part-time engineering student pursuing a recognised degree. The winning student’s work is judged on its likely impact on the future of aerospace engineering.

Boeing’s sponsorship is designed to encourage students to pursue careers in aerospace-related engineering fields at a time when the industry is crying out for fresh talent. “Boeing is committed to doing our part to develop the engineering work force of tomorrow,” says Charles Toups, Boeing integrated defence systems vice president, engineering and mission assurance.

Source: Flight International