SAE International Award for Technical and Leadership Excellence Honoring Rodica Baranescu


This award celebrates the successes of women in the engineering profession and recognizes their leadership and technical contributions in the aerospace, automotive and commercial vehicle sectors.

It serves to broaden the awareness of the reach and impact of women working in mobility engineering, and opening doors for young girls interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) who wish to pursue engineering careers.

Rodica Baranescu, Ph.D. made a generous gift in 2011 to establish this award. Dr. Baranescu is Past President of SAE International, an SAE Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.  As a mechanical engineer, she began her professional and academic career in her native country, Romania, before immigrating to the United States in 1980 and was later the first woman elected President of SAE International in 2000.


  • Nominees for this award must be women who have demonstrated technical competency and leadership in engineering.  
  • Three women will be honored each year - one from each mobility engineering sector (aerospace, automotive and commercial vehicle).
  • Awardees may be employed or retired, and they must be members of SAE International.


Members of the Selection Committee are not eligible for this award while serving on the committee. Two years must pass before former members of the Selection Committee are eligible to receive the award.


This includes an honorarium and an award that is presented at an SAE Event.

2022 Kathryn Elliot Rolls-Royce
2022 Alba Colon Hendrick Motorsports
2021 Chantal S. Parenteau Exponent, Inc (AUTO)
2021 Ruxandra Botez École de technologie supérieure (AERO)
2020 Elana Chapman General Motors
2020 Cynthia Webb PACCAR Inc.
2019 Laura Hitchcock, The Boeing Company, Retired
2019 Denise Rizzo U.S. Army TARDEC
2018 Leslie Kilgore Thomas Built Buses
2018 Michele Kaiser John Deere
2018 Rhonda Walthall  UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS)
2017 Anita M Burke General Motors
2017 Tara Travis Cummins Inc.
2016 Andrea Brazzale-Anderson Caterpillar Inc.
2015 Dr Christine K Lambert Ford Motor Company
2014 Dr Ewa Alice Bardasz Energetics
2013 Corina Sandu PhD Virginia Tech
2012 Ning Lei Navistar Inc

Deadline: May 31, 2024

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