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Jackson Retires from NASA, Co-Authors Book

Photo of Karen JacksonMABE alumna Karen E. Jackson is co-author of the recently released book entitled, Crashworthy Composite Structures: Aircraft and Vehicle Applications, that investigates the design and implementation of effective crashworthy composite structures.

Jackson received her bachelor’s degree, with highest honors, in engineering science and mechanics in 1981, and began her career as an aerospace engineer at NASA Ames Research Center after graduation. She transferred to NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA, within a year of starting work. During her tenure at NASA, she earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering mechanics from Virginia Tech. She performed research in aircraft and rotorcraft crashworthiness, particularly focusing on nonlinear explicit transient dynamic finite element simulations of structural impact events, which resulted in over 165 technical papers.  In addition, Jackson has received several major awards including the H. J. E. Reid Award for the best technical paper in 2003 and 2009 at NASA Langley Research Center. In 2008, she was presented with an Exceptional Service Medal by NASA and the Department of Defense. In 2010, she was named technical fellow of the American Helicopter Society (now called the Vertical Lift Society), and, in 2017, Jackson was awarded the prestigious AHS Nikolsky Lectureship, which is presented to “an individual who has a highly distinguished career in vertical flight aircraft research and development and is skilled at communicating technical knowledge and experience.”

After 37 years of federal service, Jackson retired from NASA in 2018, and is currently working as a part-time contractor for NASA through the National Institute of Aerospace as a senior research engineer.