Halaby Fellowship



The Challenge

Since the first powered flight a century ago at Kitty Hawk, aviation has become essential to the world’s economy.

Aviation operations are subject to the varied and often violent events that the Earth’s atmosphere can produce—turbulence, wind shear, thunderstorms, icing, and much more.

As Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from 1961 to 1965, Mr. Halaby’s greatest concern was safety.  Five decades later many aviation weather safety problems remain to be solved.  Unexpected turbulence injures hundreds of passengers and flight attendants each year.  Engine icing may result in flameouts that endanger the safety of transoceanic flights.  Wintry weather causes dangerous conditions and costly flight delays.  Severe thunderstorms produce hazardous winds, hail, and lightning, resulting in frequent delays and damage to aircraft countless times every year.  And new challenges arise with the emergence of unmanned aerial systems and their integration into the national airspace system.

It is vital to aviation’s efficiency and safety to further our understanding of the sensitivities of aviation operations to weather, improve the predictions of weather affecting aviation, and to develop capabilities for better weather hazard avoidance and mitigation of avoidable impacts.  Today’s approaches rely heavily on human cognition and experience, and future capabilities currently being developed to improve air traffic management are not yet effectively including weather as a key factor.

Najeeb E. Halaby Graduate Student Fellowship

This fellowship will help shape the next generation of researchers and practitioners in aviation weather, honoring Mr. Halaby’s vision and his more than five decades of extraordinary contributions.

The Fellowship

The holder of a Najeeb E. Halaby Graduate Student Fellowship will spend three months in residence with NCAR’s Aviation Weather Research Program, which Mr. Halaby was instrumental in establishing in the 1980s.  As the nation’s leader in addressing aviation weather research, NCAR plays a unique role in meeting user needs by transferring research results to operations through its Research Application Laboratory.

The Fellow will conduct research broadly aimed at improving the integration of weather into decision support tools for enhanced mitigation of weather sensitivities (e.g., weather impact avoidance) and management of air traffic.

The Fellowship will provide:

  • Monthly stipend for three months, including temporary living expenses
  • Round-trip travel expenses to and from Boulder, CO
  • Travel to a conference to present results
  • Page charges for one publication of key results

Eligibility and Application

The Halaby Fellowship targets graduate students (late Masters or early PhD level) enrolled in an aviation-relevant department or program of a domestic or international university.  Interested candidates should have advanced research skills, far-reaching vision, and dedication to get things accomplished.

Consideration for this Fellowship will be given to candidates based on the following submitted material:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Proposal (maximum five pages) presenting the research to be conducted at NCAR, the anticipated outcome of that, and how the proposed effort ties into the candidate’s ongoing graduate research project(s)
  • Contact information for three references (one of which should be the student’s primary advisor)

NCAR will accept applications again for the Halaby Fellowship annually.
Email Applications by February 29, 2024 to halabyfellowship@ucar.edu


For inquiries about this fellowship send email.

Najeeb Elias Halaby (1915 – 2003)

“Jeeb” Halaby’s fascination with flying began when he watched a ticker-tape parade in honor of Charles Lindberg; Jeeb was just 12.  By age 16, he was flying open-cockpit biplanes, and a dozen years later was a U.S. Navy test pilot.  In 1945, Commander Halaby was the lead pilot testing fighter planes for the first landings on aircraft carriers.  He set altitude records in Navy jets and was the first pilot to fly a jet nonstop across the United States.

The pattern of high accomplishment continued after World War II.  Mr. Halaby served under Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Clinton in various capacities at the Pentagon, the Office of Research and Intelligence at the State Department, and the Department of Defense.  President Kennedy appointed him administrator of the FAA, where he established stringent safety regulations and modern air traffic control systems, desegregated all U.S. airport terminals, and championed the development of supersonic transport.

After his years of federal service, Mr. Halaby moved to the private sector.  At Pan American Airlines, he held increasingly senior positions, including president and chief executive officer.  His controversial and bold decision to introduce Boeing 747s into the Pan Am fleet ushered in today’s era of jumbo jet transport.

After leaving Pan Am, Mr. Halaby pursued his global interests as chairman of the Royal Jordanian Airline’s International Advisory Board, which brought entrepreneurial aviation initiatives to the Middle East.  He also served on the board of King Hussein’s Foundation of Jordan and the Hariri Foundation of Lebanon.  Participating in multiple national philanthropic organizations and university boards, Mr. Halaby worked tirelessly for the fair treatment of minorities throughout the world and for the advancement of children, education, and human rights.

Mr. Halaby made an early connection with NCAR and UCAR when he became the first chairman of the UCAR Foundation Board of Directors.  He oversaw and guided the growth and development of the foundation, which serves as UCAR’s exclusive agent for technology commercialization.  Among foundation accomplishments under his guidance was the creation of the for-profit Weather Information Technologies, Inc., which developed and implemented a wind shear system for the new Hong Kong Airport as well as methods to deliver weather forecasts via the Internet and wireless technologies.

Mr. Halaby received numerous awards during his lifetime, including Officer of the French Legion of Honor, the Jordanian Medal of Independence, the National Order of the Cedar from Lebanon, and the National Air and Space Museum Trophy for Lifetime Achievement from the United States.  He was the recipient of the Donald D. Engen Aero Club Trophy for Aviation Excellence from the Aero Club of Washington.

The Halaby Graduate Student Fellowship is a fitting tribute to honor Jeeb’s extraordinary legacy and to build on his significant contributions to aviation meteorology, operational efficiency, and safety.

Check out the current and past Halaby Fellows, who they are and what they worked on during their fellowship.

Current Fellow

Ivan Pađen (2023)

Ivan Pađen is currently working on his PhD at Delft University of Technology under the guidance of professor Clara García-Sánchez.  Ivan's research is focused on the effective reconstruction of 3D city models for urban flow simulations and understanding the effects of geometry modeling on simulation uncertainty. 

Past Fellows

Clement Li (2020)

Clement Li is a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under the guidance of Dr. John Hansman in the International Center for Air Transportation (ICAT). He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University and a Master’s Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT. His research interests are in automated situation assessment, particularly situations characterized by stochasticity, including trajectory inference of airborne traffic and weather assessment under uncertainty. Other areas of research work include noise analysis for noise mitigation procedures around airports and the development of a cruise altitude and speed optimization decision support tool for the flight deck. His research under the Halaby Fellowship includes developing methodologies and representations for reasoning over uncertainty in hazardous weather with respect to flight deck decision-making. This work involves characterizing weather uncertainty with respect to the future availability of safe options and new information, which enables a more informative assessment of risk for in-flight planning.

Arman Izadi (2019)

Arman Izadi is a Ph.D. candidate and graduate research assistant in the Air Transportation Systems Laboratory at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, VA.  Arman received a Master of Industrial and System Engineering from the Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic) in Tehran, Iran and a Bachelor of Industrial and System Engineering from the Yazd University, Yazd, Iran.  As part of his Ph.D. thesis research at the Virginia Tech, Arman is developing a fast-time fight simulation tool for evaluating new policies, procedures, and technologies proposed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to improve fight operations over the oceanic airspace.  He is involved in the benefits assessment of the FAA’s Remote Oceanic Meteorological Information Operational (ROMIO) demonstration of providing satellite-based meteorological information to aircraft operating in remote oceanic airspace.  Arman’s focus under the Halaby Fellowship includes modeling of transoceanic aircraft’s deviation maneuvers due to convective weather events and finding effective convective weather avoidance strategies based on using NCAR’s Convective Diagnosis Oceanic (CDO) and Cloud Top Height (CTH) weather products.  Arman’s skills include mathematical modeling, simulation, machine learning, and statistical data analysis.  After graduating Arman joined GRA, Inc. as a Data Scientist.  Check out his LinkedIn profile.

Katherine Glasheen (2018)

Katherine Glasheen is currently pursuing a PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder.  She obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Aerospace Engineering & Mechanics from the University of Minnesota in 2016 and a Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering from CU Boulder in 2018.  Katherine's doctoral research, under the guidance of Dr. Eric Frew, focuses on using network connectivity and cloud computing to provide autonomous capabilities to small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS).  If sUAS can access offboard models, datasets, and computation resources during flight, such resources can be leveraged to ensure safe flight through uncertain environments.  During her time as a Halaby Fellow, Katherine is researching methods of supplementing weather models of varying fidelity with onboard wind measurements.  This work includes determining methods of fusing the models and the measurements based on the limitations of each and simulating the blended system for validation.  This work will be integrated into Katherine's ongoing research in planning safe trajectories for autonomous sUAS in uncertain environments.   After graduating Katherine joined Renu Robotics in San Antonio, Texas, where she currently is a Senior Software Engineer.  Check out her LinkedIn profile.

Eulalia Hernández (2017)

Eulalia Hernández is a PhD student at the University of Seville, Spain.  Her thesis, under the supervision of Dr. Damián Rivas and Dr. Alfonso Valenzuela, is focused on the effects of weather uncertainty on aircraft conflict detection and resolution, and sector demand.  Eulalia obtained both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Seville, and currently she is a member of the Aerospace Engineering research group in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Fluid Mechanics.  Her research is part of the Opt-MET project, which aims to understand how weather uncertainties affect the capacity, safety and efficiency of Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems and to apply this knowledge towards improving the robustness of strategically de-conflicted, synchronized traffic scenarios.  During her Master project, Eulalia established an initial approach to the study of probabilistic conflict detection for en-route aircraft under wind uncertainty.  That study was further enhanced with the development of an en-route conflict resolution methodology.  As part of the Halaby Fellowship at NCAR, Eulalia has been expanding her research to make the analysis three dimensional with a particular focus on aircraft conflict detection for converging air traffic in the Terminal Maneuvering Area of an airport.  The objective is to characterize and quantify the effects of wind uncertainty towards a probabilistic expression of aircraft conflict detection.  After graduating Eulalia was a postdoc at the Linköping University (LiU) in Norrköping, Sweden, before returning to Spain, where she is now studying to become an Air Traffic Controller.

Emily Ranquist (2016)

Emily Ranquist is a doctoral student at the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder working towards a degree in Aerospace Engineering.  Her other degrees include a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Brigham Young University and a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from CU Boulder with an emphasis in Fluid Mechanics. Emily’s research is guided by Dr. Brian Argrow, the founding director of the Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Aircraft (RECUV) at CU.  Through RECUV, Emily has constructed, tested, and operated various small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS).  She and her research group are involved in the Integrated Remote and In-situ Sensing (IRISS) project at CU Boulder, which leads in the design and deployment of small unmanned aircraft to enhance atmospheric data collection. Under the Halaby Fellowship, Emily researched the weather hazards associated with sUAS operations, emphasizing in particular the effects of wind speed and direction on aircraft endurance and control.  The research conducted at NCAR has been a segue into Emily’s doctoral research, which involves developing safety risk management for low altitude sUAS operations.  Emily works now as an Aerospace Engineer for Dynetics Inc. in Huntsville, Alabama.  Check out her LinkedIn profile.


Manuela Sauer (2015)

Manuela Sauer was the inaugural Halaby Fellow in 2015.  She is a dynamic researcher from Germany and visited NCAR from November 2015 to February 2016.  Manuela started focusing on aviation meteorology in her Master program at the Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH), Germany.  During her Master project she worked at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Brunswig, Germany and implemented winter weather operations in a fast time simulation of Frankfurt/Main airport.  Following this, Manuela was a PhD student in the SESAR (the European counterpart to NextGen) WP-E ComplexWorld network.  While working at LUH at this time, she developed and applied a flight trajectory calculation tool to study horizontal thunderstorm avoidance effects and the impact of forecast uncertainty on aircraft routing.  During her stay at NCAR as Halaby Fellow Manuela included multiple hazards, such as turbulence and icing among convection, in her studies and evaluated their impact on routing solutions.  After finishing her PhD in late 2015 she got the opportunity to intensify these studies on multi-hazard avoidance as an ASP postdoc at NCAR and is now working on 3D weather hazard avoidance routing simulations. After leaving NCAR, Manuela worked for Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation in Lucerne, Switzerland, as a Research Scientist.  In May 2022, she joined Axalp Technologies as a Scientific Researcher and Meteorologist. Check out her LinkedIn profile.


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