Prestigious Amelia Earhart Fellowship awarded to UAH Ph.D. candidate

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UAH aerospace engineering doctoral candidate Deepa Kodali (left) was presented with the 2016 Amelia Earhart Fellowship by Ms. Charlene Rains, Zonta International District 11 governor, during the Amelia Earhart Luncheon & Aviation Career Fair held last month at the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, Ala.

Zonta International

Deepa Kodali, a Ph.D. candidate in aerospace engineering at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), was one of just 35 women globally to be awarded the 2016 Amelia Earhart Fellowship from Zonta International, a global organization dedicated to empowering women through service and advocacy. Kodali received the $10,000 award, which recognizes women pursuing doctoral degrees in the field of aerospace-related sciences or engineering, at a presentation ceremony late last month during the Amelia Earhart Luncheon & Aviation Career Fair held at the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, Ala.

"This is perhaps the first milestone of my professional career," says Kodali, who expects to graduate this fall. "It is very special to me, being recognized as one of the Zonta fellows." Born in Hyderabad, India, Kodali earned her undergraduate degree in mechanical production and industrial engineering at Andhra University and her master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University before coming to UAH to study with Dr. Chang-kwon Kang. "I am fortunate to be a part of UAH," she says, "because the research activities in the field of aerospace engineering are amazing here."

I am fortunate to be a part of UAH because the research activities in the field of aerospace engineering are amazing here.

Deepa Kodali
Ph.D. candidate

Kodali’s research focuses the fluid-structure interaction in flapping-wing flyers and builds upon Dr. Kang’s own Ph.D. work, during which he developed high-fidelity computations of the unsteady flow around flexible flapping wings. But whereas his computations "took weeks to simulate on hundreds of CPUs," he says, "Deepa has recently derived analytical models that capture the first-order physical mechanisms and only take a second to compute on a personal computer." He’s now hopeful this will allow them to achieve their next goal, of developing highly efficient and agile micro-air vehicles.

In the meantime, Kodali’s award will enable her to travel to both national and international conferences to present her research – and, perhaps just as important, to network with leaders in her field. "I want to develop myself as a professional in the aerospace engineering community, to able to conduct independent research or lead a team of researchers," she says of her post-doctoral plans. "And I would love to teach aerospace engineering at a leading technical university."


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