Women in Aerospace Lauds Johns Hopkins APL’s Mosavi-Hoyer for Outreach Leadership

A diverse group of students sit at a wooden table in a laboratory with Nelli Mosavi
Nelli Mosavi-Hoyer (center) discusses the EZIE-Mag kits with ASPIRE students. With the kits, students will be able to build their own mini magnetometers to collect data from the ground. (Credit: Johns Hopkins APL)

Nelli Mosavi-Hoyer, an engineer and project manager with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, was recognized with Women in Aerospace’s 2023 Aerospace Awareness Award for her leadership and outreach efforts. As project manager for NASA’s EZIE and Van Allen Probes missions, Mosavi-Hoyer has been inspiring students and building a path for people around the world to make significant contributions to space missions.

Women in Aerospace is a professional organization dedicated to expanding women’s opportunities for leadership and increasing their visibility in the aerospace community. The Aerospace Awareness Award annually honors an individual who excels in building public awareness of aerospace programs, practices innovative approaches for increasing public understanding of aerospace development, shows commitment to advancing and defining the roles that aerospace plays in society, is committed to professional growth and serves as a role model for the advancement of women in aerospace.

“Nelli’s personal leadership and communication efforts as the manager of the EZIE and Van Allen Probes missions, as well as her efforts to establish and make visible the Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium and Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center, exemplify her dedication to increasing public understanding of aerospace and inspiring the next generation of space explorers,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, the former associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA who shared a letter of recommendation for Mosavi-Hoyer’s Women in Aerospace award.

Mosavi-Hoyer led efforts at APL to establish the Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium (LSIC), bringing together experts from academia, industry and government to shape technologies and systems needed to explore the surface of the Moon in new ways. The inaugural LSIC meeting in 2020 served as a launch pad for efforts to keep the United States at the forefront of lunar exploration.

In her leadership of the EZIE and Van Allen Probes missions, Mosavi-Hoyer employed a multifaceted approach to raise awareness of their significance.

“Greater public awareness of space missions not only fosters scientific, technological and economic advancements but also promotes unity, inspiration and responsible stewardship of our planet and the cosmos,” said Mosavi-Hoyer. “It engages the public in discussions about the future of space exploration and its impact on society and the world at large. Space missions capture the imagination of people, especially young minds.”

Two women and three men gather around a table, where one man holds up a piece of electronics that the others are looking at. A digital screen displays text and images behind them.
Mosavi-Hoyer (center) meets with the EZIE team. From left: Bayo Eisape, Sandra Vilevac, Jesper Gjerloev, Robin Barnes​. (Credit: Johns Hopkins APL)

Mosavi-Hoyer’s team is leading the EZIE-Mag program, an innovative outreach initiative that creates opportunities for students to participate in the NASA mission by using 700 ground magnetometers to measure and study ionospheric electrodynamics. This program, targeted at eighth-grade and high school students, provides a memorable and meaningful experience for young minds to engage with space exploration, collect data and work alongside EZIE scientists.

“Nelli’s energy, successes and engaging and supportive manner have made her a strong role model,” said Christopher DeBoy, who leads the Space Flight Engineering Branch in APL’s Space Exploration Sector and shared a letter of recommendation for Mosavi-Hoyer. “At APL she is not just a mentor for women but also an engine and advocate for the mentoring program, helping match women with mentors. She has created courses and taught at Johns Hopkins University and UMBC [University of Maryland, Baltimore County], run seminars, started initiatives, and gone above and beyond in reaching out to female students and encouraging their pursuits, with impactful success.”

After Mosavi-Hoyer earned her Ph.D. from UMBC, she sought to provide opportunities for other staff members to pursue a Ph.D. while working full time at APL. Under APL’s assistant director for research, Mosavi-Hoyer created a roadmap for sustainable collaborations on research and part-time Ph.D. opportunities for APL staff. As a result of these efforts, APL offers a part-time Ph.D. program designed to help staff members pursue doctorates at UMBC and JHU.

“I am profoundly honored to be named among the ranks of accomplished women in the aerospace industry,” said Mosavi-Hoyer. “This recognition underscores the unwavering dedication and commitment of my exceptional team at APL. These efforts aim to not only underscore the importance of our missions but also instill a sense of pride among our staff, affirming that our organization consistently undertakes pioneering missions in partnership with NASA. I take great pride in APL’s role as a remarkable organization that fosters an environment conducive to creativity.”

Mosavi-Hoyer will be awarded at Women in Aerospace’s 38th annual awards ceremony on Dec. 13 in Arlington, Virginia.

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