Empowering all Women, in Space and on Earth

2017 Student & Young Professional Award Winners

The WIA-Europe Awards & Grants Committee has finalized its work and the WIA-Europe Board of Directors has endorsed the recommendation for this year’s Student & YP Award Winners.

We would like to congratulate the winners.

The Award Ceremony will take place on June 20 from 16:45 – 17:00 at the ESA Pavilion of Le Bourget in Paris.

  • Student Award winner

Damiana Catanoso









Damiana Catanoso is an aerospace engineer, graduated from La Sapienza University of Rome and pursuing the Joint European Master in Space Science and Technology (Spacemaster). She is currently working at Airbus Defence and Space on the topic of GNSS satellites navigation.

Damiana was born in 1992 in Messina, Sicily, Italy. In 2011 she moved to Rome to pursue her Bachelor in Aerospace Engineering. Damiana immediately involved herself in an active and productive university environment. As Secretary of Sapienza Aerospace Student Association (AIAA Student branch) she managed many activities and projects. In 2013 her team won the First National and Second World Prize of the NASA International Space Apps Challenge 2013 with a greenhouse concept for Mars. In 2014 Kiwanis Club awarded her with the ‚ÄúWe build‚ÄĚ Prize. She participated and won the First Prize of ‚ÄúGravity‚ÄĚ National Competition with a project about asteroids‚Äô capture. In 2015 she has been elected as representative of the Aerospace student body. After completing her bachelors she attended the first of two years of the Space and Astronautical Engineering master in La Sapienza. In 2016 she left Rome to start Spacemaster, at the end of which she will have a double degree from Lulea University of Technology and W√ľrzburg University. At the end of September 2017 she will start her third semester in Germany and at the same time she will work in Zentrum F√ľr Telematik on a three cubesats formation mission.

Damiana is an alumna of the International Space University after participating in the Space Studies Program 2016 in Israel. To pursue her growing interest in new formation flying techniques of small satellites constellations, in 2018, she will be joining the Stanford Space Rendezvous Lab as a visiting research student to work towards her thesis.

Damiana is a member of WIA Europe, SGAC, Royal Aeronautical Society, Society of Satellite Professionals International.

Damiana loves every kind of sports: from boxing to swimming and cycling. She likes adventurous travels in strict contact with nature and local people. She loves singing too.

Damiana wants to share her energy and enthusiasm with young dreamers by the Space Open Day Project in a high school of Sicily (in Messina), at the beginning of the scholastic year to give them a full charge of energy and motivation. The activities will be finalized to learn interactively, through group games, and to invite speakers with the space experience (students/professors/workers) and a Sicilian Astronaut (Luca Parmitano) as special guest  to attract the students to hear their experience. The Space Open Day will be the small flame that starts a big fire spreading without fear.

  • Young Professional Award winner

Olympia Kyriopoulos







Multicultural citizen of the world with an innate passion for space. Mechanical Engineering studies at Technische Universität Darmstadt and University of California, Berkeley with PhD in Fluid Physics Microgravity Research. Highly motivated and goal-oriented professional, 10+ years of experience in Project Management, Business Development, Commercial Sales, and Leadership for various international aerospace projects, and recent astronaut candidate. Life always accompanied by music and sports, traveler around the world and never stop explorer. Look up and dream big to make the impossible possible.

Olympia wants to transfer to the new generation her enthusiasm, passion and competence for the space sector by an Young Children Education Project in primary school to increase awareness and recapturing the aerospace pioneer spirit in both industry and society. She wants to distribute a ‚Äúminiature‚ÄĚ rocket module among kindergartens, elementary schools, and high schools throughout the world covering all continents to be filled with their own little experiments, small souvenirs, or wishes, ready for launch to space on-board the new suborbital reusable launchers.

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