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Ella Atkins

Fred D. Durham Chair in Engineering and Department Head
  • Ph.D., 1999, University of Michigan, Computer Science & Engineering
  • M.S., 1995, University of Michigan, Computer Science & Engineering
  • M.S., 1990, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Aeronautics & Astronautics
  • B.S., 1988, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Aeronautics & Astronautics
Ella Atkins
Virginia Tech Swing Space, Room 241D
Virginia Tech (MC0203)
1600 Innovation Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Aerospace information systems
Unmanned aerial vehicles

  • Editor-in-Chief, AIAA Journal of Aerospace Information Systems (2018-present)
  • Executive Steering Committee, AIAA Aviation Conference (2020 & 2021 conferences)
  • Member, Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) Advisory Committee on Autonomous and Remotely Piloted Aviation (2020-present)
  • Member, AIAA Higher Education Committee (2020-present)
  • Guest Editor, “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management Special Issue,” IEEE Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems (2021).
  • Study committee member, “Advancing Aerial Mobility: A National Blueprint", National Academy of Science (NAS) for NASA Aeronautics (2019-2020).
  • Lead organizer, NSF National Robotics Initiative (NRI) PI Meeting, Feb. 27-28, 2020 
  • Program Committee, Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence (IAAI) Conference (2019-2020)
  • Proposal Reviewer, NASA Earth Science AI Systems Technologies (AIST) Program, 2017, 2020.
  • Proposal Reviewer, NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (NSTRF) Program, 2017-2020.
  • Proposal Review Panelist, Cyber-Physical Systems, Robotics, SBIR, NSF, (ongoing).
  • Reviewer, “In-Time Aviation Safety Management: Challenges and Research for an Evolving Aviation System,” National Academies Press, 2018.
  • Program Committee, The 9th NASA Formal Methods (NFM) Symposium, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, (May 2017).
  • Proposal Review Panelist, Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) Program, NSF, Nov 2017, July 2017, July 2016 (and previous years).
  • Peer Review Board, Crew Systems and Aviation Operations Branch, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA (Jan. 2015)
  • Reviewer, “A 21st Century Cyber-Physical Systems Education,” National Academies Press, 2016.
  • Autonomy Breakout Session Chair (and Intelligent Systems Roadmap co-author), “Intelligent Systems Workshop,” AIAA Intelligent Systems Technical. Committee, Dayton, OH, 2014.
  • Volume Editor, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering (Wiley) (2013-2016)
  • Study Committee Member (Report Co-Author), “Autonomy Research for Civil Aviation: Toward a New Era of Flight,” National Research Council (2013-2014)
  • Member, Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) Defense Science Study Group (DSSG) (2012-2013)
  • Study Member, “Engineering Resilient Space Systems,” Keck Institute for Space Studies, CalTech/JPL (2012-2013)
  • Member, Aeronautics Roundtable Member, Aeronautics & Space Engineering Board (ASEB), National Academy / National Research Council (2011-2015)
  • National Research Council (2011-2014)
  • Program committee, International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems (ICCPS), IEEE (2011-2014)
  • Member, University of Michigan Senate Assembly (2011-2013)
  • Member, AIAA Software Technical Committee (2011-present)
  • Committee Member (Report Editor), “NASA Aviation Safety Program Review,” National Research Council (2009-2010)
  • Section Editor, Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering (Wiley) (2008-2014)
  • Chair, AIAA Intelligent Systems Technical Committee (2007-2009)
  • Program Committee, Intelligent Systems Track, AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting (2007-2011)
  • Program Committee, 5th International Workshop on Planning and Scheduling for Space, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD (2006)
  • Technical Program Chair, AIAA Infotech@Aerospace Conference (2005-2007)
  • Study Committee Member (Report Author), “Panel E: Intelligent and Autonomous Systems, Operations, and Decision Making, Human Integrated Systems, Communication and Networking,” Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics, National Research Council (2005-2006)
  • Review Panelist for NASA Jet Propulsion Lab’s Advanced Multi-Mission Operational Systems (AMMOS) Program, 2005 – 2011 (panel chair 2010-2011).
  • Associate Editor, AIAA Journal of Aerospace Computing, Information, & Communication (JACIC) (2004-2013) 
  • Invited Session Organizer, Session Chair, Program Committee, AIAA Intelligent Systems Conference, Chicago (2004)
  • Local Program Chair, Session Chair, IEEE Intl. Conference on Robotics & Automation (ICRA) (2002)
  • Program committee, AAAI Spring Symposium on Safe Learning Agents, Stanford University (2002)
  • Member, AIAA Intelligent Systems Technical Committee (2001-2020)
  • Member, AIAA Software Technical Committee (2013-present)
  • Co-chair, AAAI Spring Symposium on Robust Autonomy, Stanford University (2001)
  • Member, AIAA Space Automation and Robotics Technical Committee (2000-2003)
  • Paper Reviewer, AIAA and IEEE journals and conferences (2000 - present)
  • Proposal Reviewer, NSF, NASA (2001 - present)
  • Fred D. Durham Chair in Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2022 - present 
  • Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA), 2019
  • AIAA Intelligent Systems Award, 2022
  • University of Michigan Robotics Leadership Award, 2020
  • First place team (with three PhD students), Swarm and Search AI Challenge: 2019 Fire Hack, Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), 2019
  • Inaugural President’s Award for National and State Leadership, University of Michigan, 2017
  • Trudy Huebner Service Excellence Award, University of Michigan, 2013
  • Aerospace Engineering Department Award, 2009 and 2020
  • NSF CAREER Award, 2004-2009
  • Aerospace Engineering Dept. Faculty Mentor Award, Univ. of Maryland, 2004
  • Sloan Foundation Pre-Tenure Leave Fellowship, 2002-2003
  • GE Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, University of Michigan, 1997-1998
  • Orenstein Fellowship, EECS Department, University of Michigan, 1993-1994
  • Sigma Gamma Tau Aerospace Engineering Honor Society, inducted 1987
  • Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, inducted 1986
  • Department Head, Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, 2022 - present
  • Professor, University of Michigan, Aerospace Engineering Department, 2016 - 2022
  • Associate Director, University of Michigan Robotics Institute, 2016 - 2020
  • Associate Professor, University of Michigan, Aerospace Engineering Department, 2006 - 2016
  • Courtesy Appointment, University of Michigan, Computer Science and Engineering, 2007 - present
  • Graduate Student Fellow and Research Assistant, University of Michigan, 1993 - 1999
  • Technical Fellow, Collins Aerospace / RTX, Mission Systems (2020 - 2022)
  • Assistant Professor, Aerospace Engineering Department, University of Maryland, 1999 – 2006 (awarded tenure in 2006)
  • Project Engineer, Structural Dynamics Research Corporation, 1990 – 1993
  • Graduate Student Research Assistant, MIT, 1988 –1990
  • Engineering Intern, Aerospace Corporation, Summers 1986 & 1987