Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Michigan

Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics

WAA Mission Statement

Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics (WAA) was founded in 2016, and is dedicated to fostering a sense of community among women in fields related to aviation and space, improving diversity within the department of aerospace engineering, and helping members build both personal and professional connections in the aerospace industry.

You should join WAA if you are interested in:

If you are interested in joining or hearing more about WAA, or some of the other great projects we are working on, please feel free to email us at waa-officers@umich.edu, or visit our "Contact" page!

Here's a look at our current Board for the 2020 calendar year!

President: Catherine Philpott

Catherine Philpott is the current President for WAA. She is studying Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Computer Science and has been a member of WAA since her freshman year. Last summer, Catherine interned at AGI as a Corporate Systems Engineering Intern working with STK. In her free time, she enjoys skiing, photography and football. Her favorite part about WAA is how empowering it is to be surrounding by such amazing women and the camaraderie that has been formed as a result.






External Vice President: Rachel Byrum

Rachel Byrum is our External Vice President for WAA. She is currently a junior studying a dual degree in Aerospace Engineering and Film, Television, and Media. Last year, she served as the Conference Chair for WAA, organizing the first ever Dawn Seymour Women in Aerospace Conference. Last summer, Rachel interned at Aurora Flight Sciences as an Aerostructures Design Engineer. Rachel currently works at the Duderstadt Center as a Video Studio Media Assistant and with the Services for Students with Disabilities as a Note-taker. Outside of work, schoolwork, and WAA, Rachel enjoys painting, hanging out at the beach with her family, and doing puzzles.






Internal Vice President: Laura Zaidenberg

Laura Zaidenberg is a rising third year student from Miami, Florida and is studying Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan. She is currently interested in spacecraft and propulsion. Outside of school, she works as an undergraduate researcher at Professor Campbell’s Laboratory in High Energy Physics, is a member of AIAA, and serves as Internal Vice-President for WAA.






Conference Chair: Lena Siskind

Lena Siskind is a junior at U of M studying Aerospace Engineering and minoring in Physics. Last summer she went to Israel where she worked as a Research Assistant and studied Guidance Navigation and Control Methods for Cubesats. She is so excited to be planning the 2020 Women in Aerospace Conference and can't wait to be a part of creating a more inclusive aerospace community.






Membership Officer: Julia Weiss

Julia is a sophomore studying Aerospace Engineering and pursuing a minor in Computer Science. Her interest in engineering and space, as well as her passion to support women and other minorities in this field, stems from attending Girls in STEM programs throughout her youth. She is excited to further this mission as the WAA Membership Chair this year. Julia is also involved in the Michigan Aeronautical Science Association project team. Outside of school she enjoys spending time with her friends and exercising through yoga and running.






Mentorship Chair: Emily O'Connell

Emily is a sophomore from Orlando, FL studying Aerospace Engineering. She has been a member of WAA since 2018 and is also involved in AIAA, SGT, and SWE. She looks forward to continuing to create an empowering and inclusive environment as WAA’s mentorship chair. Outside of class she enjoys spending time with friends, meeting new people, and exploring new places.






Treasurer: Sara Casaletto

Sara Casaletto is our Treasurer for WAA. She is a sophomore studying Aerospace Engineering and is interested in space propulsion. Last year she was on a project team working on a CubeSat for a lunar mission. She currently works as an Science Learning Center Group Facilitator for a General Chemistry course and loves helping others learn. Outside of work, she loves to read, explore nature, and meet new and interesting people.






Outreach Chair: Rashika Rao

Rashika is a junior studying Space Engineering with a concentration in Instrumentation. A former astrophysics major, her love for space runs deep, encompassing everything from astrophotography to solar instrument prototyping as part of the Kasper Heliophysics Lab. She has been a member of WAA since 2017, and has previously served as Treasurer and on the conference committee. In her free time, she loves podcasting, the aerial arts, and climbing things.