Su’s research focuses on characterizing and improving krypton performance on high-power magnetically shielded Hall thrusters. Her work includes setting up, operating, and analyzing data from Hall thruster test campaigns. She utilizes multiple diagnostics, including far-field probes and laser-induced fluorescence, to obtain the data necessary to further the physical understanding of these devices.
She was drawn to aerospace engineering out of a combined love for Star Trek and engineering. After she was introduced to plasma physics, she started working in electric propulsion and hasn’t looked back.
“I’m honored to receive the Amelia Earhart award, especially because a number of women I know and look up to have also received it in the past. The number of women in aerospace engineering remains well below 50%, so it’s always encouraging to see fellowships specifically geared towards uplifting women,” says Su.
Aa fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory (PEPL) in the Aerospace Engineering department, Su is advised by Assistant Professor Benjamin Jorns. Jorns comments, “This award is well deserved. Leanne is an exceptional researcher. Her pioneering work on alternative propellants for modern, “shielded” Hall thrusters is opening new possibilities for the field.”
Su hails from Seattle, WA and received her undergraduate degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering in 2018 from the University of Washington. Outside of the lab, she likes embroidery, swimming, and taking pictures of her cat, Pudge.