Investing in the Future: AIAA Foundation Day of Giving

It is my honor to serve as the chair of the AIAA Foundation. For over 35 years, AIAA has made a huge impact on my life and professional development. From getting involved in the AIAA Student Branch at North Carolina State University to leading the Institute as its president, and all that came in between, my career has been enabled by AIAA. Today as I continue my involvement, my goal is to ensure we invest in the future through the Foundation.

The Foundation was created over 25 years ago to inspire the next generation of aerospace professionals. We are working every day to impact students and educators where their aspirations begin. We know the significant influence classroom teachers can have on students, making them aware of the possibilities and igniting a spark to consider a career in a STEM field. It’s through the Foundation that we make funding available for programs to reach students through educators, providing valuable experiences that rouse their curiosity about space, nurture their passions around STEM topics, and move them along a classroom journey that could lead to an exciting career.

This year we have a special opportunity to make an investment in the next generation by contributing to the AIAA Foundation Day of Giving on 17 December, as we honor the past on the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight while looking toward the future.

It’s important to know more about how the Foundation is impacting young people. The Foundation provides support to university students in many ways: Student Conferences, Diversity Scholars Program, Design Competitions, Design/Build/Fly, and scholarships and grants. The Foundation gives $100,000 annually in scholarships and graduate awards. These scholarships are incredibly meaningful to me, having worked with my late father to establish a graduate award in the aerospace program he helped start at North Carolina State University, the Dr. Hassan A. Hassan Graduate Award in Aerospace Engineering. After his death, I doubled the impact of his scholarship by donating to add an extra recipient annually.

We also have formed some exciting new partnerships that we believe are going to enhance our efforts to reach students even earlier at the K-12 level.

The ExGen program is the product of a partnership with AIAA Corporate Member Estes Rockets and the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) and provides K-12 educators with free, engaging, classroom-ready lessons and curriculum storylines to help immerse students in real-life applications of STEM while exploring various concepts in aerospace, engineering, and rocketry. The first full unit was launched in October. Learn more at

Students To Launch (S2L) is a new program, created in partnership with First Light, Griffin Communications Group, and Oregon State University, that inspires middle and high school students with the wonders of space. With a focus on those in underrepresented and underserved communities, S2L invites students from across the country to engage in NASA mission-inspired events – from hands-on afterschool activities to attending rocket launches at NASA Kennedy Space Center. Our goal is to give these students the chance to see themselves in exciting STEM-focused careers.

I invite you to read more about the impact of the AIAA Foundation on the website at

2022 AIAA Foundation Day of Giving

The Foundation will honor the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight on 17 December with its first-ever Day of Giving. We are using the inspiration from this incredible accomplishment in the past to inspire the future. Please consider how you might make your mark on our profession. I hope each of you will join me in contributing toward our goal of raising $75,000 to develop the next generation of aerospace leaders.

As I said when my term ended as AIAA President and I became AIAA Foundation Chair, I believe that AIAA’s future is bright! With your generosity, the Foundation can continue supporting students and teachers, thereby inspiring more young people to pursue aerospace careers. Enjoy reading the testimonials on AIAA social media channels leading up to the Day of Giving to feel the impact the Foundation has had on so many students.

“Being part of this fantastic opportunity gives hope to my dreams. Receiving the Diversity Scholarship will bring so much knowledge and experience that will help me dive more into a world that young women are deterred from pursuing in my home country.” — Andrea Galvan, student, University of Texas at El Paso, 2022 AIAA AVIATION Forum Diversity Scholar

Investing in the Future: AIAA Foundation Day of Giving