Westermeyer selected for Aviation Week Network’s 20 Twenties program

By Sarah Chase

a student in front of a TV screen giving a presentation

Joey Westermeyer, a graduate student studying aerospace engineering, was selected as a fellow for the Aviation Week Network’s 20 Twenties program. The program inducts “20 of the brightest, most driven aerospace-bound STEM students in their 20s.” Established in 2013, the distinguished program has had 635 nominations, and only 180 of those have been selected. 

Westermeyer’s aerospace projects include creating a software tool for the tube-launch of Altius, a foldable drone, during his internship at Area-I. This tool “predicted exit velocities for various scenarios, significantly reducing flight test risks, especially in untested situations.” He also crafted a software package for REGENT Craft involving its seaglider vehicle simulation. That tool “automated execution of simulations for thousands of different seaglider and environmental parameters, allowing REGENT to establish crucial go or no-go envelopes for its vehicle.” 

“Being named a 20 Twenties Fellow is an immense honor and milestone in accomplishing my childhood dreams. This recognition by Aviation Week, a leader in the industry, feels incredibly validating to the effort I have put in so far and fuels my desire to continue pushing boundaries,” Westmeyer said. “I am immensely grateful for the unwavering support and guidance of my mentors, professors and classmates.” 

Westemeyer and the 19 other inductees will be honored at a luncheon on March 14 in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club. The class of 2024 inductees will also be celebrated at the Aviation Week Network’s annual Laureates Awards and banquet on the same day at the National Building Museum. 

“I am incredibly excited to connect with the other esteemed 20 Twenties Fellows in D.C. this coming March,” Westermeyer said. “This program presents a unique opportunity to network and share my passion for aerospace engineering with like-minded individuals. The interactions and collaborations fostered through this program will undoubtedly inspire me and introduce me to people who will become lifelong mentors, colleagues and friends, shaping the trajectory of my future in the field.”

Westermeyer is currently researching tracking and guidance algorithms alongside Dr. Jordan Larson, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering and mechanics, to intercept multiple intercontinental ballistic missiles simultaneously. His overall passion lies in utilizing autonomy for the enhancement of safety, convenience and efficiency across various vehicles. 

Post graduation, I have secured a position at the navy’s Patuxent River Naval Air Station, the nation’s largest aircraft test facility, where I will be working on flight simulation for naval aircraft,” Westmeyer said. “I am excited to merge research with practical experience, focusing on topics like manned-unmanned teaming to reduce casualties in military operations, while continuously developing the state of the art.”

To read more about the 20 Twenties program, click here:

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s College of Engineering has more than 5,200 students and more than 170 faculty. In recent years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz, Boren, Mitchell and Truman scholars.

Author: Sarah Chase    /    Posted on: March 1, 2024    /    Posted in:   Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, Awards and Honors, Students