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University of Iowa News Release

April 25, 2006

Engineering Student Wins 2006 Amelia Earhart Fellowship

Yongli Zhao of the town of Xingtang, Hebei Province, China, a graduate student in the University of Iowa College of Engineering Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, has been named the winner of a 2006 Amelia Earhart Fellowship by Zonta International.

Zhao is a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering, specializing in computational fluid dynamics. Her research involves development of new computational methods for analysis of thin film motion over a surface, such as occurs on an airplane flying in rainy or misty conditions. Freezing of thin water films on aircraft wings can lead to airfoil stall and severe safety issues. Zhao is currently extending her computational method to examine the transport of nanoparticles during the spin coating of thin films, which is a key process in the development of new types of abrasion-resistant coatings for turbine blades. Zhao hopes to become a university professor once she completes her studies at the UI.

The award, which includes a $6,000 cash stipend, is intended to increase opportunities for women in the fields of aerospace-related sciences and aerospace-related engineering. It is given, in part, on the basis of an applicant having completed a bachelor's degree in a qualifying area of science or engineering while achieving a superior academic record.

The award is named for pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart, who disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 while attempting to be the first pilot to circle the world by air at the equator. At the time of her disappearance, she had been a member of the Zonta Club of New York since 1930.

Zonta International is a worldwide service organization of executives in business and the professions working together to advance the status of women. Zonta, which takes its name from the Lakota Sioux Indian word meaning "honest and trustworthy," has more than 34,000 members and over 1,200 clubs in 70 countries. Additional information is available at the organization's Web site at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,