For this month’s #WIAAWednesday, we would like to feature an Aerospace Engineering student who is very special to our department. WIAA is honored to highlight Bianca Foltan this April!

Bianca Foltan is currently a senior Aerospace Engineering student on the space track. Bianca has been heavily involved in the high-altitude ballooning program, UMD NearSpace. During her time in the program, Bianca developed an alternate method of inflating and launching large weather balloons, mentored several ENAE100 projects, and was the student lead for High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) in her junior year. HASP is a program that gives students the opportunity to fly a payload on a large NASA weather balloon. After graduation, she will be returning to work full-time on launch vehicles at Orbital ATK where she interned last year.

Bianca’s Word of Wisdom:

  • “Do things that force you to be independent. Take a class without arranging to have a friend take it with you, go for that internship that’s really far from home. You’ll surprise yourself with what you can do on your own. The skills you gain, the lessons you learn, and the confidence you build in yourself when you do those things is invaluable.”
  • “Communication is way more important to engineering than it is given credit for. It’s important to learn how to adapt your communication style to better get your message across.”
  • “The people around you are an incredible resource. Get to know people outside of just your year. Few things are more helpful than having a mentor who is a little ahead of you in the program, and equally few things are more rewarding than being able to be that mentor for someone else.”

Did you know?: When she is not busy studying, Bianca enjoys reading sci-fi and fantasy books. She is also a huge Buffalo Bills fan and has been going to games since she was very young.



On Sunday, April 8th, the Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics organization at the University of Maryland, College Park, hosted its third annual WIAA Day. WIAA Day is a day-long event for high school and middle school students with an interest in engineering, math, and science who would like to learn more about the exciting field of aerospace engineering!

This year’s theme for WIAA Day was the James Webb Space Telescope to celebrate its upcoming launch. The event included keynote speeches from females atop the aerospace industry, aerospace lab tours, student and industry member panels, an engineering organization activity fair, and a chance for students to work in teams during a mission design competition.

We would like to give a big thank you to all of the students, faculty, and industry volunteers who made WIAA Day a success! We hope that WIAA Day was able to inspire these students through the presentations, guest lecturers, and fun mission design activities. Feel free to check out our albums for some amazing pictures from WIAA Day!

WIAA Day 2018 - Part 1
WIAA Day 2018 - Part 2

Credit:  Debora McCallum 


For February’s #WIAAWednesday, WIAA would like to feature someone who is very important to the Department of Aerospace Engineering. We are honored to highlight Aileen Hentz this month!

Aileen Hentz is the Program Director for Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Aerospace Engineering within the A. James Clark School of Engineering.  She oversees aspects of the undergraduate program including recruitment, retention, advising, registration, graduation, and alumni. She received her Bachelor of Arts in History and Integrated Liberal Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She later went on to receive her Master of Education in College Student Affairs from Pennsylvania State University. She is currently pursuing her PhD in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, & Special Education, at the University of Maryland.

Aileen’s Words of Wisdom: “Grit over quit.  Grit will get you much further in life.  A Japanese proverb about resilience was drilled into my head as a child, “fall down seven times, get up eight.”  In other words, never give up.  This being said, getting up can be hard, and you don’t have to do it alone.  It’s perfectly alright to ask for help.  We all need to lift each other up when we’re down, and celebrate our own and others’ successes.”

Did you know?: Aileen loves dogs!  She has 2 big, slobbery mutts and has often fostered dogs through a local, German Shepherd rescue organization.