Nunn School Welcomes Former NASA Astronaut and Georgia Tech Alumna as a Distinguished Professor of the Practice

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Written by Kelsey Gulledge

Beginning April 1, 2021, Sandra “Sandy” Magnus joined Georgia Tech’s faculty as a professor of the practice. In her new role, she will have a joint appointment between the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, the School of Materials Science and Engineering, and the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.

Her position will primarily focus on research advocacy, leadership and mentorship to students, as well as offering guidance to faculty related to issues in aerospace engineering.

“The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs is thrilled to welcome Dr. Sandy Magnus as a distinguished professor. Magnus’ experience at NASA and in the Defense Department defense—coupled with practical experience working with the international space community-- will add tremendous value to our program,” said Adam N. Stulberg, chair of the Nunn School. “As a distinguished professor, Magnus will mentor students, offer guest lectures, participate in public events, and help to deepen our programs with partners across the Colleges of Engineering and Sciences.”

Magnus was selected to the NASA Astronaut Corps in April 1996. She flew in space on the STS-112 shuttle mission in 2002, and on the final shuttle flight, STS-135, in 2011. In addition, she flew to the International Space Station on STS-126 in November 2008, served as flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 18, and returned home on STS-119 after four and a half months on board. Following her assignment on Station, she served at NASA Headquarters in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Her last duty at NASA, after STS-135, was as the deputy chief of the Astronaut Office.

“We are beyond excited to have Dr. Magnus join the College given her deep domain expertise in aerospace engineering and on-the-ground NASA experience,” said Raheem Beyah, dean and Southern Company chair of the College of Engineering. “I know she will serve as an inspiration to both our current and prospective students who dream of becoming astronauts one day.”

Before joining NASA, Magnus worked for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company from 1986 to 1991, as a stealth engineer where she worked on internal research and development and on the Navy’s A-12 Attack Aircraft program, studying the effectiveness of radar signature reduction techniques.

Magnus is currently the Principal at the consulting firm, AstroPlanetview LLC. She has received numerous awards, including the NASA Space Flight Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and the 40 at 40 Award (given to former collegiate women athletes to recognize the impact of Title IX).

Magnus received her Ph.D. from Georgia Tech’s School of Materials Science and Engineering in 1996. Prior to receiving her doctorate degree, she earned a degree in physics and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology.



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