Kerri Phillips, an aerospace engineering Ph.D. candidate at West Virginia University, received an Amelia Earhart Fellowship from Zonta International, which works to advance the status of women worldwide.

A native of Weirton, W.Va., Phillips completed her undergraduate education at WVU, and, as a doctoral student, is focusing her research on developing flight controls for aircraft to maintain safe flight in the event of a failure. The Amelia Earhart Fellowship has enabled her to conduct this research, which will culminate in May 2011 when she defends her dissertation.

Phillips accepted this award in Akron, Ohio at the Zonta International District 5 meeting, where she also received her flight wings. During her acceptance speech, Phillips thanked all of the women who have encouraged her to pursue her dreams.

“Sometimes in West Virginia, whether it is a small steel town or a coal mining town, kids need a little encouragement – that extra nudge to tell them that there is a whole world out there for them if they work hard,” noted Phillips. “I want to serve as that inspiration to let young girls know that anything is possible.”

“Kerri has been an inspiration already for many young women, and I know she will continue to be throughout her professional career,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner dean of WVU’s College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

Other accolades that Phillips has earned include being named a Swiger Doctoral Fellow, Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, USA Today All-College Academic Third Team, WVU Honors College Nath Outstanding Senior, WVU Presidential and Promise Scholar, as well as being inducted into the Order of the Augusta.

Established in 1938 in honor of famed pilot and Zontian, Amelia Earhart, the Amelia Earhart Fellowship is awarded annually to women pursuing Ph.D./doctoral degrees in aerospace-related sciences and aerospace-related engineering who demonstrate a superior academic record. The Fellowship of $10,000, awarded to 35 Fellows around the globe each year, may be used at any university or college offering accredited post-graduate courses and degrees in these fields.

Zonta International was founded in 1919 and has more than 31,000 members in 66 countries.



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Nicole Riggleman
Interim Coordinator of College Relations
College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
(304) 293-4257