Five Years of WIAA at the University of Maryland

My name is Julia Mittelstaedt. I am a
senior aerospace engineer at the University of Maryland and I am the
president of WIAA. WIAA is Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics. Its mission
is to promote females in aerospace engineering or aerospace industry by
promoting technical development, professional development, outreach, and
community development. The idea for WIAA came from me participating in the WIAA
professional organization and being extremely impressed by the talents and
ability of women peers that I didn’t usually get to see. It was something I
thought was very inspiring for me and I thought would be very inspiring for our
students. When we founded WIAA, we had a vision for being a force of good in the
aerospace engineering department. We wanted to encourage young women to
become engineers and we wanted to provide a support network for the woman
who were already here in the aerospace engineering department. What makes WIAA unique is the people involved. Having an environment where undergraduates and
graduate students can interact and become peer mentors for each other as
well as just create a community and support for women in aerospace
engineering. WIAA Day is a day-long event where high school girls and their
parents come onto campus. They participate in aerospace engineering
activities, lectures, tours, competitions, and it’s all completely run by the
female aerospace engineering students. My name is Darby Brandenburg. I am a
freshman majoring in aerospace engineering at the University of
Maryland, and I participated in WIAA Day back in 2016 when I was a freshman
in high school. What’s great was that WIAA got me
interested into aerospace engineering which really reflects their efforts to
encourage more girls to get into aerospace engineering. The impacts that the WIAA
program has had on the Clark School include an interest in enrollment in
our incoming class. The percent of women I think is up to 25 percent, which is for
an aero program outstanding. WIAA has only been at University of Maryland for
five years and we’ve already accomplished so much. With the support of
AIAA and the Clark School’s Department of Aerospace Engineering, WIAA is well on our way to become a national student organization. This idea of
starting the national organization, I think it’s going to change the field. I
am thrilled that the AIAA is stepping in and helping foster them to
help promote interest in the field women students that are coming up to
university level. I think it’s going to be big and an especially high impact in
changing the representation of women in the field. Because of WIAA I’ve met so many
incredible women that have become my friends and my role models and peers. It
didn’t just bring together the female members of this department, it brought everyone together.

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