UAH director selected for 2023 Order of Prometheus Hall of Fame award in recognition of sustained uncrewed mission support

Suzy Young
Dr. Virginia “Suzy” Young, director of the Research Institute at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH)
Michael Mercier | UAH

Dr. Virginia “Suzy” Young, director of the Research Institute at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of the University of Alabama System, has been elected to the 2023 Hall of Fame under the Order of Prometheus by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Pathfinder Chapter. Established in 2022, this marks the second year the award has been presented.

The Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of uncrewed systems, in addition to advancing community goals within this field. The criterion for selection includes being an active AUVSI member who has demonstrated “sustained excellence in continuing to foster the education and application of advancements like Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence in the uncrewed mission areas,” as well as providing continuing support to the AUVSI Pathfinder mission.

“I am very honored to receive this recognition,” Dr. Young says. “I am fortunate that my career path for decades has allowed me to work in the fascinating field of robotics and uncrewed systems. In addition to having the opportunity to work in highly technical areas that continue to escalate our capabilities, there is also the opportunity to work with a great community of individuals that are working toward common goals.”

Dr. Young is well known in Huntsville for her federal, academic and advocacy initiatives and achievements. She was a member of the initial robotics working group from U.S. Army R&D labs and initiated the first efforts to prototype and test armed ground robots for the U.S. Army Infantry School. Her work was later expanded to team with the U.S. Navy for a joint demonstration for unmanned ground sentry and weapons firing demonstrations.

The awardee was the Chief Technical Officer for the first Army/Marine Corp Joint Unmanned Ground Vehicle Office at Redstone Arsenal, and she later supported the Army’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) efforts in research on programs such as Manned Unmanned Teaming and counter UAS. She served as the Director for Army Aviation S&T programs and the Technical Point of Contact for International exchanges within the Army in the area of robotics.

Dr. Young has been a long-time Board member for AUVSI National and recognized for Outstanding Leadership by Women in Defense, was awarded the Honorable Order of St. Michael for Army Aviators and is a previous Order of Prometheus winner. She received the Civilian Service Award for Superior Performance, as well as the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service for Exceptional Leadership from the U.S. Army. She recently rolled off as the Chair of the National Board for AUVSI and also served on the Board for the National Advanced Mobility Consortium, the Robonation Foundation Board, was an advisory Board member for the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation and Integration Center, acted as a Governor-appointed Commissioner of the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission for the past 10 years and currently serves on the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Foundation Board.

As the Director of the Research Institute at UAH, she manages this legacy organization, established in 1961, to provide research services to Marshall Space Flight Center and the Army Ordnance Missile Command. In this role, she employs nationally known engineers and scientists to conduct government contracted research and provide graduate and advanced degreed personnel to the workforce. The UAH Research Institute continues to support this community and the nation with teams of skilled researchers, faculty and students working with industry and over 10 government agencies.

With 7,000 members, AUVSI is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of uncrewed systems and robotics. It represents corporations and professionals from more than 60 countries involved in industry, government and academia. AUVSI members work in the defense, civil and commercial markets.