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Young Professionals Emerging Leadership Award
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Young Professionals Emerging Leadership Award

Young Professionals Emerging Leadership Award

The SAMPE North America Young Professionals Emerging Leadership Award recognizes the achievements of select Young Professionals (who have graduated from university and are also under the age of 35) by sending application finalists to the SAMPE North America technical conference and exhibition to network with peers and industry professionals, and to increase their understanding of the materials and process community. Additionally, the top rated SYPELA finalist(s) will be named SAMPE North America Young Professional(s) of the Year and have the opportunity to attend a future international SAMPE conference.

Click here for the nomination form. Nominations restricted to SAMPE North America members.

Applications are due on February 15 of each year.

Questions? Contact us at

The criteria for this award are as follows. The Young Professional must:

  • Be a registered SAMPE North America Young Professional who has not previously won this award.
  • Have graduated from university and are under 35-years old at the time applications are due.
  • Have demonstrated excellence in their field within the SAMPE community (both technical excellence and outstanding service will be considered).
  • Must attend the complete conference and all scheduled activities (welcome dinner, Young Professionals networking reception, Young Professionals awards ceremony, meet with ULEA winners, etc.). You must be available to attend the entire SAMPE conference, with arrival on Sunday and departure on Friday.
  • Complete the application form.
  • Include two (2) letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a direct supervisor.
  • Upon being selected as a finalist and attending the conference, a short write-up of your conference experience will also be required, which may then be used in SAMPE marketing and other publications (such as the SAMPE Journal).

Awardees are required to attend the SAMPE spring conference and designated networking functions during the event. Airfare, hotel, and registration will be covered by SAMPE. SAMPE will recognize the finalists during an awards ceremony and up to two winners will have the chance to attend an international SAMPE Conference or CAMX – The Composites and Advanced Materials Expo.


2020 Young Professionals Emerging Leadership Award Winners:

  • Sana Elyas, Composite Application Development Engineer, Arris Composites
  • Chanel Flores, Aerospace and IT Industry Director, State of Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development
  • Prof. Kun Fu, Assistant Professor, University of Delaware
  • Prof. Lessa Grunenfelder, Senior Lecturer, University of Southern California
  • Melissa Jaime, Plastics Technologist, Vertellus
  • Prof. Bo Jin, Research Scientist, University of Southern California, M.C. Gill Composites Center
  • Justin Massey, Composites & Corrosion Division Head, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)
  • Dr. Jeremy Moskowitz, Research Scientist, Solvay
  • Dr. Krishnan Veluswamy, Senior Research Engineer, CAPE Lab, South Dakota School of Mines
  • Dr. Danning Zhang, Sr. Materials and Process Engineer, Wisk Aero
  • Thomas Zimmerman, Stress Analyst Lead, The Boeing Company


2019 Young Professionals Emerging Leadership Award Winners:

  • Filippo Cellini, Ph.D., Research Scientist, New York University
  • Timotei Centea, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, University of Southern California (Young Professional of the Year)
  • Ryan Curry, Program Manager, Swift Engineering
  • Konstantine Fetfatsidis, Ph.D., Founder & CEO, Make Composites, Inc.  (Young Professional of the Year)
  • Alice Havill, Chief Operating Officer, Vartega Inc.
  • Alison Lake, Lead Materials Application Engineer, GE Aviation
  • Maggie McKenney, Business Development Engineer, Bostik
  • Rassel Raihan, Ph.D., Research Scientist III, University of Texas at Arlington
  • Furkan Ismail Ulu, Research Assistant, North Carolina A&T State University
  • Hao Wu, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, KAI, LLC


2018 Young Professionals Emerging Leadership Award Winners:

  • Andrew C. Becnel, Ph.D., Professional Faculty, Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Maryland
  • Rodrigo Cesar Berardine, Strategic Business Development Manager Latin America, Owens Corning
  • John J. Gangloff Jr., Ph.D., Senior Research Engineer, Advanced Materials, United Technologies Research Center
  • Ayou Hao, Ph.D., Research Faculty, Florida State University
  • John Misasi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Western Washington University
  • Ian Swentek, Ph.D., PEng, Applications Development Engineer, Hexion
  • Ashley Tracey, Ph.D., Engineer, The Boeing Company (Young Professional of the Year)


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