Two Florida State University graduate students are among the 35 women chosen from across the globe for Zonta International’s Amelia Earhart Fellowship that supports women pursuing advanced studies in aerospace-related sciences. Puja Upadhyay, a mechanical engineering doctoral student, and Jin Yan, an industrial and manufacturing engineering doctoral student, both won $10,000 offered by Zonta International, a global organization working to advance the status of women and girls. It is the first time two FSU students have received the award.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” says Wendy Grey, president of the Tallahassee chapter of Zonta International.  “But, we’re so excited to see two local women receive this award, and it shows how much women in the sciences are doing at FSU.”
The award winners are from universities across the globe, and the winners represent 20 different countries. Upadhyay is originally from Nepal, and Yan is from China. Yan said she will use the money to help support her research in aerospace-related structural health monitoring systems.
Upadhyay’s research focuses on flow field studies of commercial aircraft, specifically looking at ways to improve noise control mechanisms for aircrafts. The Amelia Earhart Fellowship will help her pay for tuition and fees, books, and other supplies, she says. “The number of women in aerospace-related fields, specially engineering, have always been sparse,” she remarks. “This recognition and financial support from Zonta International is indeed a great encouragement. It has not only inspired me to work harder but has allowed me to focus more on my research with less financial burden.”
Florida A&M University–Florida State University College of Engineering Dean Yaw Yeboah says he was “thrilled” to see Zonta recognizing two of the college’s graduate students. “One special mission of the college is to graduate women in engineering fields of study, and we are glad to see that Zonta is working to assist women in obtaining aerospace and related engineering degrees,” he states.