Robin Vaughan, an aerospace engineer with The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., has been named Engineer of the Year by the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
The award is presented to an individual member of the local chapter who has made a recent significant contribution in the field of engineering. Vaughan was cited for her work as guidance and control lead engineer for the MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) spacecraft — a NASA Discovery mission that will conduct the first orbital study of the innermost planet after its launch this summer. In this role she provides technical leadership for a team developing flight and simulation software for the spacecraft's guidance and control system.
Due to a tie, Vaughan shares the title this year with co-winner Jubarai Sahu of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, Md. Winners from local AIAA chapters are submitted to the regional level where one candidate per region is selected to compete for AIAA's National Engineer of the Year award, which will be presented at the AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit in January 2005. Baltimore chapter winners are also submitted to the Engineering Society of Baltimore to compete with members from other professional societies for the title of Baltimore Engineer of the Year, which will be awarded in February 2005.
Vaughan received her B.S. in mechanical engineering from Tulane University in Louisiana, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT in Massachusetts. She has been a resident of Columbia, Md., since she joined APL in 2000.
This is the second consecutive year an APL employee has received this award. Steve D'Alessio, an APL aerospace engineer, was named the Baltimore chapter's 2003 Engineer of the Year.