Women and Drones, an organization centered around supporting women in emerging aviation technologies, has long recognized influencers in the drone community through its annual Women in Emerging Aviation Technologies Awards (formerly known as the Women to Watch Awards). And in 2023, Women and Drones is planting a firmer foot in the history books by creating a Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame sits within the organization’s annual awards ceremony, which last year made a splash with an awards ceremony held at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which is the largest trade show in the world. In January 2023, Women and Drones will name another crop of women to its annual Women in Emerging Aviation Technologies Awards, as well as recognize the first-ever round of Hall of Fame inductees.
The Hall of Fame inductees consist of 12 women in all facets of the aviation and technology world. And while I tend not to insert myself in news stories, here’s one time where I have to. I am humbled and honored to be named as one of the 12 Hall of Fame inductees. I will share the spotlight alongside 11 other women. They are (in alphabetical order, by first name):
- Anita Sengupta: Founder/CEO of Hydroplane Ltd, Aerospace Engineer, Commercial Pilot, Space Program Veteran
- Erin Roesler: Director of Operations for the Northern Plains UAS Test Site
- Fiona Lake: Founder of Australia’s Rural Drone Academy
- Huy Tran: Director of Aeronautics at the NASA Ames Research Center
- Jennifer Pidgen: COO at Sundance Media Group and UAS book Co-Author
- Lisa Ellman: Executive Director of the Commercial Drone Alliance and Partner at Hogan Lovells
- Marilyn Pearson: Global Regulatory Lead for AAM/eVTOL/UAS, Pilot/Instructor Commercial Crewed and Uncrewed Aircraft
- Miriam McNabb: Editor of DRONELIFE.com
- Robin Murphy: Director of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering
- Sabrina Saunders-Hodge: Director of Research Engineering and Analysis Division, FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office
- Tracy Lamb: CEO of Quantum AI, Commercial Pilot/Instructor Crewed and Uncrewed Aircraft
Upon learning of my nomination to the award, I was speechless. I stand alongside people who work at NASA. People who worked in the White House. People who have advanced degrees, and who have years more experience than me.
But I am also proud to be in these ranks. I started this as a blog to document my drone flights back in 2013, when I was flying a DJI Phantom (the original one). 10 years later and I’ve grown this into a source of news and historical documentation. It’s a place to connect people, and to inspire others. Sometimes I wonder if I’m as smart or as accomplished as the women named above. But I do know I’m committed and consistent. The Drone Girl publishes a story every weekday, and it’s with your readership (and now this level of recognition) that I won’t stop.
What to know about the Hall of Fame for Women in Emerging Aviation Technologies
The 12 Hall of Fame for Women in Emerging Aviation Technologies inductees were either nominated by industry professionals, or self-nominated and selected by a panel of judges. Nominees were evaluated based on their overall contributions and impact on shaping perceptions and advancing aviation technology. To qualify, inductees had to work in relevant emerging aviation technologies and industry-enabling career fields.
The award ceremony
For the first time, the formerly-known-as Women And Drones Awards will be dubbed the Women in Emerging Aviation Technologies Awards, opening up the awards up to a wider pool of women who might be working in other aspects of aviation, crewed or uncrewed (say, air taxis). This is the sixth year of the awards program, but the first year where a Hall of Fame is involved.
All of the awards will be given at the live Women in Emerging Aviation Technologies Awards at CES 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. Hall of Fame winners will receive a Hall of Fame Trophy, a feature on a feature in a Hall of Fame video, a feature on the Hall of Fame webpage, a segment in Women and Drone’s UAS/AAM documentary project, plus a celebration at a private industry recognition event immediately following the awards ceremony.