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Alumna Gwynne Shotwell to Receive Prestigious Ralph Coats Roe Medal

Shotwell will be honored on campus by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers on February 28

Northwestern Engineering alumna Gwynne Shotwell (BS '86, MS '88) has received the prestigious Ralph Coats Roe Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Gwynne ShotwellThe award recognizes her outstanding leadership and innovation for space commercialization, technical contributions to the design of reusable rockets, and the promotion of STEM education.

Shotwell will receive the award on Thursday, February 28, at 7 p.m. at the James L. Allen Center on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. Following the ceremony, she will deliver the Roe Lecture titled “Launching Our Future.”

Shotwell serves as president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, which manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. In 2012, SpaceX’s Dragon became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station. In 2017, the company successfully achieved the historic first re-flight of an orbital class rocket, and in 2018, SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful operational rocket.

Shotwell, who topped Business Insider’s list of most powerful female engineers in 2018, joined SpaceX when it was founded in 2002 as vice president of business development. She previously spent 10 years at The Aerospace Corporation and served as a manager of the Space Systems Division at Microcosm. She serves as a member of the McCormick Advisory Committee.

The Roe Medal, established in 1972, recognizes an outstanding contribution toward a better public understanding and appreciation of engineers’ worth to contemporary society. Roe was a pioneer and innovator in the design and construction of highly efficient power plants and advanced desalting processes.

RSVP to attend the event.