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DPhil Student Yana Lishkova latest Oxford engineer to be awarded Amelia Earhart Fellowship

Zonta International Fellowships awarded to women with outstanding academic record and who demonstrate initiative, ambition and commitment to pursuing a career in aerospace engineering and space sciences

Yana Lishkova

The Amelia Earhart Fellowship was established in 1938 in honour of famed pilot Amelia Earhart. The 2022 Fellowships were awarded to 30 women from 18 countries who have achieved an outstanding academic record and demonstrated initiative, ambition and commitment to pursuing a career in aerospace engineering and space sciences.

DPhil student Yana Lishkova is the latest Oxford engineer to be awarded the Fellowship, following Manuela Sisti in 2021, Suria Subiah in 2020 and Hannah Rana in 2019.

Yana is a DPhil student in the Control Group under the supervision of Professor Mark Cannon. Her work focuses on developing methods for simulation, optimization and control of multirate systems which exhibit dynamics on different time scales. These methods are beneficial for applications with safety-critical constraints and limited computational capacity such as aerospace systems. A flexible satellite, performing a slow rotational manoeuvre, for example, excites very fast vibrations in its solar panels or other appendages which if not controlled can lead to loss of pointing accuracy, performance degradation or even structural damage.

She says, “Today we still face great numerical challenges when trying to predict and prescribe the behaviour of multirate systems. With our work we aim to develop methods capable of delivering high fidelity simulation and control for such systems at a greatly reduced computational cost. In the past couple of years, I was able to demonstrate the advantages of these methods at several conferences including a paper publication by the 2020 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Conference, an invited talk at the Conference of Numerical Solutions of Differential and Differential Algebraic Equation (NUMDIFF-16) and a poster presentation at a workshop at the 8th IEEE International Conference on Space Mission Challenges for information Technology (SMC-IT 2021). Since then we have continued to improve on these multirate approaches and our new paper has been accepted for this summer’s European Control Conference.”

Examples of multirate systems can be found in many areas – from the laws behind the motion of molecules to those describing planetary dynamics. Yana’s DPhil project therefore aims to create a well-rounded approach applicable not only in the aerospace field but also in other areas of science and engineering.

Yana adds, “I am extremely honoured to receive the Amelia Earhart Fellowship to continue my work. This fellowship has a wonderful long-standing tradition of supporting women in the aerospace field, highlighting their achievements, and providing them with a platform to inspire others to follow in their footsteps or create their own paths in the aerospace field.”

Previously, Yana completed a Bachelor and a MEng in Aerospace Engineering and Instrumentation & Control at the University of Cambridge and a Diploma of Higher Education in Software Engineering and Electronics from the University of Edinburgh. Parallel to her PhD studies, she works as a Junior Dean at St Hugh’s College and represents the Engineering graduate student body at departmental and divisional meetings. She also acts as vice-president of AerOx, a society dedicated to inspiring students to pursue a career in the aerospace field.

“I would like to extend my gratitude to the Oxford Control Group and my supervisors for their support, guidance, and freedom to explore challenging control problems and their application for spacecraft control,” she says. “I am also very grateful to the Oxford University Aeronautical Society (AerOx) for providing me with the opportunity to meet experts in the aerospace domain and connect them to our student audience. In the future I would like to continue my research pursuits in the aerospace field and through my work help in enabling sustainable life for humans both on Earth and beyond.”

Read about the 2022 Amelia Earhart Fellows