Dr. Aprille Ericsson is an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She became the first African American female to receive a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University, and the first African American female to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering at Goddard, where she currently serves as New Business Lead for the Instrument Systems and Technology Division. Additionally, in 2023, Dr. Ericsson was nominated by President Biden to serve as the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology within the Department of Defense’s research office.
Throughout her thirty-plus year career with NASA, Dr. Ericsson has worked as an aerospace engineer, technologist, project and program manager and executive. She has made many notable contributions, including as the project manager for the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter that has been orbiting the Moon since 2009, and the ICESat-2 Atlas (Ice, Cloud, & Land Elevation Satellite) that provides measurements over the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica to quantify changes in ice-sheet mass that impact global sea level.
Dr. Ericsson has taught at both Howard University, University of Maryland, and Bowie State University. She has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Minority Women in Science and Engineering by the National Technical Association and has received the NASA Goddard Honor Award for Excellence in Outreach; the Washington Award for engineering achievements that advance the welfare of mankind; and a Science Trailblazers award from the Black Engineers of the Year Award Conference. In 2022, Dr. Ericsson was awarded the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Ralph Coates Roe Medal, the highest award bestowed by American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
She speaks to young people across the country – especially minorities and women – to encourage them to follow in her footsteps.
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