UA STEM Students among Nation’s Top 20 in 20s

UA STEM Students among Nation’s Top 20 in 20s

Two students stand in a lab
Sean Devey and Jane Gillette are studying aerospace engineering and mechanics at UA.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Two University of Alabama College of Engineering students are among the nation’s top 20 science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, students in their 20s.

Jane Gillette and Sean Devey are recognized as two of Aviation Week’s 20 Twenties for 2020, sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The award recognizes students earning STEM degrees who are nominated by their universities based upon great academic performance and research paired with civic contribution.

Gillette, a senior from St. Louis, Missouri, studies aerospace engineering with a double minor in mechanical engineering and math. She is balancing her bachelor’s degree while also working on her Master of Business Administration in the Accelerated Master’s Program, a route allowing students to take graduate classes early.

She has interned at NASA and United Launch Alliance, with plans to intern this summer at Boeing in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

A student stands in ARES lab with rockets behind her and posters on the wall.
Gillette was also recently named a Brooke Owens Fellow, which recognizes exceptional undergraduate women in aerospace.

Gillette was also recently named the first Brooke Owens Fellow at The University of Alabama and credits her involvement in the Alabama Rocketry Association.

“My involvement in ARES at school has been instrumental in my growth as an engineering student and my ability to receive this recognition,” Gillette said. “As a woman in STEM, I’ve been lucky to receive amazing support, respect and leadership opportunities to push me to become a 20 Twenty and a Brooke Owens Fellow.“

Dr. Richard Branam, UA assistant professor of aerospace engineering, has mentored Gillette.

“Every now and then, I encounter a young person with the raw intelligence, natural creativity and enthusiastic motivation, a person with the ability to make a difference in the world given the opportunity,” Branam said. “I know Jane Gillette is one of these people and will be successful in anything she chooses to undertake.”

Devey is a master’s student in aerospace engineering with a focus on experimental fluid mechanics. The North Salem, New York, native plans to finish his master’s this summer and has applied to doctoral programs at Brown University, Princeton University and the California Institute of Technology.

A student props his arm on a piece of equipment in a wind tunnel lab on UA's campus.
Devey was named a Goldwater Scholar in 2017.

Devey completed internships at PepsiCo, Lincoln Laboratory and Boeing during his time as a UA undergraduate. He values time spent his sophomore year in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates, or REU, program hosted by Dr. Amy Lang, UA associate professor of aerospace engineering.

“Sean is truly an exemplary student, extremely self-motivated and highly intelligent, yet surprisingly humble,” Lang said. “He is certain to make valuable contributions to the field of aerospace.”

Devey said this speaks volumes about the standard of excellence and talent brought to UA.

“I think it shows that UA has a program that allows people to succeed and move forward with their careers while excelling on a national and international stage,” he said.

Devey and Gillette will be honored during Aviation Week Network’s 63rd Annual Laureates Awards March 12 at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C.


Joe Daniel and Alana Norris, engineering communications, 205-348-6444,