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SAE Contributors Dr. Anita Sengupta and Marilyn Pearson to be Inducted into Women in Emerging Aviation Technologies Hall of Fame

Posted: January 5, 2023

SAE contributors are making an impact on the aviation industry.

Anita Sengupta, Ph.D., and Marilyn Pearson are accomplished leaders in the aviation industry who are making strides towards the newest and evolving aviation technologies. For their efforts, Anita and Marilyn will be inducted into the of the Women in Emerging Aviation Technologies 2022 Hall of Fame on January 6, 2023 as part of CES activities in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Just twelve women were selected by a panel of judges for this prestigious honor based on their overall contributions and impact on shaping perceptions and advancing aviation technology.

“In this industry, there aren’t that many women; it’s probably only about 20 percent women, and it’s probably well under 5 percent [who are] CEOs and under 2 percent of entrepreneurs,” Anita said. “To be recognized for my entrepreneurial efforts, as well as my engineering efforts is great validation and I also think it gives a platform for other women to be able to do it as well.”

Marilyn echoed Anita’s sentiments.

“This is overwhelming. Being recognized in this arena as a pilot when we usually think of people making a difference as the people who’ve created the Mars Rover, it’s an incredible honor,” said Marilyn. “This is an incredible group of women and it’s amazing to see what they’ve all done.

Together, Anita and Marilyn boast an imposing set of accomplishments.

In addition to her work as an aerospace engineer, instrument rated pilot, rocket scientist, and veteran of the space program, Anita’s developed key energy storage technologies for emission free flight as the Founder and CEO of Hydroplane and is also a SAE Foundation trustee.

Marilyn is a global regulatory affairs specialist, advanced air mobility and eVTOL at CAE, and co-chair of the SAE G-35 Committee. As co-chair of the SAE G-35 Committee, Marilyn has led a group of engineers, pilots, academia, OEMs, and regulators as they collaborate to develop standards for the aerospace industry to advance technologies while maintaining and enhancing safety.

It’s not always easy work to bring together these multiple worlds. The work these women have done with SAE is an impressive feat all its own as they bridge the gap between different sides of industry to make sure the best ideas break through.

“Engineers and pilots are like oil and water,” Marilyn explained. “They don’t always mesh so we weren’t sure how this committee would work. There were a lot of unknowns, but in the last year and 3 months we’ve developed a cross pollination between all of the committee members and currently have three aerospace standards in development.”

To keep up with such a rigorous pace of work and set of challenges, a passion for what you do is essential. Both Anita and Marilyn shared that they found love for flying and aviation at a young age.  Part of stoking that passion is being able to envision yourself in the role—something that has not always been a given for young women.

That’s where those like Anita, Marilyn and their fellow honorees are filling a gap.

“Having female role models is the key to getting more women interested in the STEM fields. Whenever a female role model is in a leadership role, it makes it something [a young girl] can really latch onto and understand and is something to emulate,” said Anita. “I think it helps to elevate the status of women as leaders in the field of aerospace which I think is really important for young girls and also people of color. I am a person of color myself and its key to have someone that you can relate to, who looks like you to see that you can do this too.”

Congratulations to Anita and Marilyn on this recognition and for paving the way for so many women of today and of the future.

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