AE Honors Outstanding Alumni
Stephen J. Hoffman, BS 78, MS 80, PhD 84, and Catherine Koerner, BS 87, MS 89, are the 2009 winners of the Aerospace Engineering Distinguished Alumni Awards. Pamela McVeigh, BS 93, and Daniel Thunnissen, MS 96, are the winners of the 2009 AE Outstanding Recent Alumni Awards.
All were recognized at the Department’s Awards Banquet held April 30 at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center.
Stephen J. Hoffman
Hoffman is a division manager with the Space, Earth, and Aviation Science Business Unit of SAIC, managed by L. David Cazes. Hoffman joined SAIC in 1980. He is a recognized expert in the fields of interplanetary mission planning, preliminary spacecraft design, and orbital mechanics, primarily as they apply to future human space missions. Hoffman currently is working on advanced projects analysis for NASA's Constellation Program Office at the Johnson Space Center.
Hoffman is the immediate past president of the AE Alumni Constituent Board. He is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and is a member of the American Astronautical Society and the U.S. Naval Institute. Hoffman was summa cum laude in earning his bachelor’s degree.
Koerner is the Deputy Manager of the NASA International Space Station (ISS) Vehicle Office. In this role, she is responsible for managing the ISS hardware vehicle and systems. This includes defining operational requirements, researching, developing, analyzing, integrating and evaluating flight systems, as well as providing near real-time engineering evaluation support for ISS operations. Koerner also chairs the Vehicle Control Board and the Multilateral Vehicle Control Board on behalf of the Vehicle Office.
Prior to these duties, Koerner served as the Technical Assistant to the Manager of the ISS Vehicle Office and was also the Mission Operations Directorate Shuttle Program Manager.
Koerner’s master’s thesis was on “Optimization of an Impulsive Intercept Maneuver Followed by a Low-Thrust Return.” She has received numerous awards from NASA, and also received AE’s Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award in 1999.
After earning her master’s and PhD at Purdue University, McVeigh joined Boeing to work on the International Space Station Program in Houston, as part of the Structural Integrity Team. Her work included leading various stress analysis efforts such as the robotic installation of the P5 and S5 trusses, the validation of the P4 and S4 trusses for launch loads and the evaluation of the Z1 truss for unplanned flights. In 2007, McVeigh took on a management role and doubled the size of her team, both in terms of personnel and budgeted tasks. A key task ahead for her and her team will be extending the life of the U.S. space station primary structure in order to ensure many additional years of on-orbit research.
Thunnissen is a Senior Systems Engineering Specialist at Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto and a part-time faculty member in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at San Jose State University. Dan supports cross-program systems engineering issues at Loral and is currently teaching fluid mechanics (ME111) at San Jose State University.
He is a former propulsion flight system engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, and a former assistant professor of aerospace engineering at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. Thunnissen has taught introduction to aerospace engineering, thermodynamics, aerodynamics, propulsion, and space systems design.
In addition to his master’s degree from AE, he holds a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and a PhD in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology, where his research focused on propagating and mitigating uncertainty in the design of complex multidisciplinary systems.
Thunnissen is also a licensed professional engineer in the state of California.