Congratulations to Dr. Anouck Girard, Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering and recipient of the CoE Claudia Alexander Trailblazer award. The honor is given each year for “groundbreaking accomplishments and contributions to STEM” to celebrate the life of Dr. Claudia Alexander, a UM alumna and an accomplished geophysicist and planetary scientist.
Professor Girard is a researcher in the fields of dynamics and control with specialization in the optimization of advanced, progressively autonomous vehicles. Spacecraft, UAVs, fighter jets, self-driving cars, and America’s Cup foiling catamarans are subjects of her work. In addition to her research, she serves as a co-Director of the Vehicle Optimization, Dynamics, Control, and Autonomy Lab.
In the summer and fall of 2018, Professor Girard spearheaded Quadcopter Quidditch, an outreach effort that would bring K-12 students to the University of Michigan to play the beloved Harry Potter game with quad-rotor drones. Through this collaboration with Aerospace Professor Ilya Kolmanovsky, graduate and undergraduate students, and the Department of Aerospace Engineering technical staff, Girard was able to run several sessions of Quidditch for Xplore Engineering, Discover Engineering, and other groups of young students. In the near future, Professor Girard would like to open up her outreach efforts to elementary school children who are too young for Xplore Engineering, which admits students starting in the 4th grade.
Professor Girard received her award for outstanding contributions to STEM at the Willie Hobbs Moore Luncheon on March 22nd, 2019. The event was sponsored by the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program and the Center for Engineering Diversity & Outreach (CEDO). The luncheon’s namesake, Dr. Willie Hobbs Moore was the first African American woman to earn a BS in Electrical Engineering and MS in Electrical Engineering at the University of Michigan. She was also the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Physics at any educational institution.