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Ms. Kelly Cooper

Award: Harold E. Saunders Award - Lifetime Achievement
Year: 2022
Recipient: Ms. Kelly Cooper
Reason:for her significant contribution to naval engineering as set forth in the following  


During Ms. Kelly Cooper’s career of 27 years and counting, she has earned significant accolades and high acclaim as a leader in naval ship design research, STEM education and workforce development.

Ms. Kelly B. Cooper began her career with the Department of Defense in 1996 when she joined the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division (NSWCCD). She would become the inaugural executive director of the Center for Innovation in Ship Design (CISD), a national collaboration of government, academia and industry with the mission of ensuring the future capability of the nation to develop innovative ship designs to effectively meet defense needs.

During her 18 plus years as a Program Officer at the Office of Naval Research, she has been consistently innovative in composing and bringing to fruition programs of consequence, sponsoring work in innovative ship design concepts, ship design, tool development, automated ship arrangements, visualization and decision making, survivability, automation in ship system design, ship design philosophies, computational capability, and more.

Ms. Cooper’s influence reaches far beyond the borders of the United States. Over the years, she has promoted collaboration and enriched ship design capabilities among our allies as well. She was a driving force behind the success of two very significant Naval International Cooperative Opportunities in Science and Technology (NICOP) projects.

Throughout her career, Ms. Cooper has been a leader in naval ship design research and education both nationally and internationally, demonstrated by her huge research portfolio at the Office of Naval Research involving universities, companies, and governments around the world.

In addition to being instrumental in advancing research in the design of various types of naval vehicles, she has also been a strong advocate of engineering education and workforce development, developing grants specifically designed to support undergraduate students. Ms. Cooper has innovatively designed and created a multitude of programs to improve the quality of STEM education, especially in naval and marine sciences, in order to engage more students at K-12 schools, and at the undergraduate and graduate student levels.

The course of Naval Ship Design in the United States and its allies has been steered by Ms. Cooper through the contacts she has fostered, the research she has sponsored, the work she has accomplished, the students she has funded, and the many professionals she has mentored.

Ms. Cooper’s career has been devoted to promoting and developing the realm of innovative and intelligent Naval ship design from its most junior possible entrants to the most senior experts. Her expertise and vision have guided and enriched the community and will continue to inspire the next generation for many years to come as we enjoy the fruits of her educational and enrichment efforts.

The American Society of Naval Engineers is proud to recognize Ms. Kelly B. Cooper the recipient of the 2022 Harold E. Saunders Award (Lifetime Achievement).