UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State aerospace engineering student Edward Thomas Rocco has been named a winner of Aviation Week's Twenty20 Award.

The Twenty20s Award is a partnership between Aviation Week magazine and Raytheon to recognize 20 top engineering, math, science and technology students. The program is designed to connect the next generation of aerospace and defense talent with established leaders who have created many "firsts" driving innovation in the 21st century.

"With the Twenty20 awards, Aviation Week seeks to identify students who are already making a difference, through their academic performance, the projects and research they undertake and their engagement with the world beyond their classrooms," said Aviation Week President Greg Hamilton. "These students participate in diverse efforts from tutoring their classmates to participating in organizations such as Engineers Without Borders and Habitat for Humanity, all while maintaining excellent scholastic standing."

Rocco is being honored for his outstanding academic performance and his involvement in the Adverse Environment Rotor Test Stand (AERTS) facility. The AERTS laboratory examines new anti-icing and de-icing concepts for helicopter rotors.

"I am very humbled to have received the award," he said. "I would like to thank Dr. [Jose] Palacios for mentoring me and providing me with all of the opportunities that he has, and Dr. [Edward] Smith for opening the door for me to work with Dr. Palacios. I would also like to thank Yiqiang Han, the Ph.D. candidate who has also taken me under his wing, and all the guys in the lab. I have learned a lot from them and wouldn’t have received this award without them."

Rocco will intern with Pratt & Whitney next summer and will continue working at the AERTS facility. His long-term plans include obtaining his master's degree in aerospace engineering at Penn State.

Rocco and the other winners will be honored during Aviation Week's annual Aerospace and Defense Programs Conference on Nov. 14 in Phoenix, Ariz.