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A Scholarship for Women in Aerospace


Globally, women make up around 25 percent of the workforce in the aerospace industry. In an effort to carry out its mission that women have access to all resources and are represented in decision-making positions on an equal basis with men, Zonta International offers the Amelia Earhart Fellowship.

The Amelia Earhart Fellowship was established in 1938 in honor of famed pilot and Zontian, Amelia Earhart. The US$10,000 Fellowship is awarded annually to up to 30 women pursuing Ph.D./doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering and space sciences. It may be used at any university or college offering accredited post-graduate courses and degrees in these fields.

Since the program’s inception in 1938, Zonta has awarded 1,704 Amelia Earhart Fellowships, totaling more than US$11.3 million, to 1,275 women from 76 countries.

Our Fellows have gone on to become astronauts, aerospace engineers, astronomers, professors, geologists, business owners, heads of companies, even Secretary of the US Air Force.


Women of any nationality pursuing a Ph.D./doctoral degree who demonstrate a superior academic record conducting research applied to aerospace engineering or space sciences are eligible. It is imperative that students be registered in a full-time Ph.D./doctoral program and have completed at least one year of that program or have received a master’s degree in an aerospace-applied field at the time the application is submitted. Applicants must not graduate from their Ph.D. or doctoral program before April 2024. Please note that post-doctoral research programs are not eligible for the Fellowship. Club members and individuals with direct membership with Zonta International and employees of Zonta International and Zonta Foundation for Women, and their family members (ancestors, descendants, adoptees, siblings, nieces or cousins, and those of their spouse or co-habiting partner), are not eligible to apply for the Fellowship. Note that previous Amelia Earhart Fellows are not eligible to apply to renew the Fellowship for a second year.


The Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship Committee reviews the applications and recommends recipients to the Zonta International Board. All applicants are evaluated on the criteria stated in the requirements section of the application. All details of the evaluations are kept confidential; evaluations are not disclosed to applicants. All applicants will be notified of their status by the end of April.


The 2023 Amelia Earhart Fellowship application is now closed. The 2024 Amelia Earhart application will open in July 2023.


Amelia Earhart Fellowships are made possible by generous contributions to the Zonta Foundation for Women Amelia Earhart Fellowship Fund.

Sharon knows firsthand what it means for Zonta to empower women. After being awarded the Amelia Earhart Fellowship in 1977 and 1978 as a Ph.D. student in mechanical and aerospace engineering, she actively sought out membership and joined Zonta in 1979. Since then she has served in many leadership positions, including International Amelia Earhart Fellowship Committee chairman, international director, vice president and president-elect. In her professional career, she worked in large, diverse matrix organizations, which required leadership and management skills to meet the competing and highly demanding tasks of numerous projects and programs. Sharon’s desire to give back to Zonta for awarding her the Fellowships is what keeps her motivated to support Zonta’s work for women’s equality. As international president, Sharon’s focus is to strategically maximize Zonta’s effectiveness in empowering women by providing educational opportunities for women and girls to achieve economic independence, eliminating violence against women, and engaging young professionals and Zonta awardees in the organization.

*Not only is Sharon Langenbeck a two time Amelia Earhart Fellow, but she is also the President of Zonta International from 2020-2022.*
Colleen Marrese-Reading

Colleen was awarded the  Zonta Amelia Earhart Fellow in 1995.  The award gave her a path to her current position as Senior Technologist in Electric Propulsion Systems at JPL. She has now reached a point in her career and her family responsibilities which gives her time to give back to Zonta.

Colleen attended the University of Michigan for her BS degree in Engineering and Physics, as well as her Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Engineering. While at Michigan, she spent a year studying in Moscow, an experience that has helped shape her life. She has successfully taken her knowledge, global curiosity, and scientific inquiry to a career in the traditionally male domain of aerospace.

She has two 17-year-old sons, and the family has lived in Santa Clarita since 2001. Her volunteer work has largely centered around her sons' sports and education activities. She has volunteered for Science Olympiad, tutored children in reading, and other activities at Valencia High School.

She has joined Zonta SCV Advocacy, where she wants to help address sex trafficking of youth and domestic violence. She is also interested in any work around science technology education and S.T.E.M. She loves the global aspect of Zonta, and is looking forward to playing a role in Zonta SCV's mission.

We are so proud to have Colleen join our club in 2020!

Amelia Earhart Fellowship

Since the program’s inception, Zonta International has awarded 1,508 Amelia Earhart Fellowships, totaling more than US$9.3 million, to 1,079 women from 70 countries.

These fellowships are made possible through generous donations to the Zonta International Foundation.

Celebrate Amelia Earhart!

Did you know...

  • She was a member of Zonta!
  • In 1932, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
  • She was the first woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross
  • She made the first solo, nonstop flight across the United States by a woman
  • She built her own roller coaster
  • She was the sixteenth woman to get her pilot’s license
  • She was born on July 24, 1897
  • In 1935 she made history with the first solo flight from Hawaii to California
  • In 1931 she piloted an autogiro to a record-setting altitude of 18,415 feet
  • She broke through many barriers during her lifetime and is an inspiration to all Zontians.

Amelia Earhart Museum opens in her hometown

Courtesy of Kansas Reflector

The Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum honors Earhart’s aviation legacy and inspires all generations in the pursuit of flight.

The centerpiece is Muriel — the world’s last remaining Lockheed Electra 10-E — an aircraft identical to the plane Earhart flew on her final flight. Muriel is named after Amelia’s younger sister, Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey.

Fourteen, interactive, immersive STEM exhibits take visitors through Earhart’s adventurous life — from growing up in Atchison, Kansas, to the height of her worldwide fame — as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Located at the Amelia Earhart Memorial Airport (K59) in Atchison, Kansas.