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Aprille Ericsson      

Rocket Scientist, Technologist & STEM Educator; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology

Dr. Aprille J. Ericsson is the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology (ASD(S&T)). In this role, she directs the organization responsible for the oversight of and advocacy for the Department of Defense science and technology (S&T) enterprise, including S&T workforce and laboratory infrastructure policy, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, and University-Affiliated Research Centers.

She oversees a broad portfolio of S&T programs, including basic research, Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer, and DoD Manufacturing Technology, including the nine Manufacturing Innovation Institutes. Additionally, as the ASD(S&T), Dr. Ericsson is responsible for focused outreach and interaction with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions, which encourage diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, and kindergarten-twelfth grade (K-12) programs. Furthermore, she is responsible for the Department’s technology and program protection initiatives.

Prior to this appointment, Dr. Ericsson spent more than 31 years at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in various positions. In 2017, Dr. Ericsson was appointed the New Business Lead for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Instrument Systems and Technology Division. In this role she fostered technical government partnerships that enable industry, small business, and academia collaboration to compete for opportunities to solve strategic research and development challenges. Dr. Ericsson also served as the NASA GSFC Program Manager for Small Business and Innovative Research within the Innovative Technology and Partnerships Office. Additionally, she served as the GSFC Deputy to the Chief Technologist for the Engineering and Technology Directorate; Headquarters Program Executive for Earth Science; Headquarters Business Executive for Space Science; and an Instrument Project Manager for instruments, which includes the James Webb Space Telescope. Her early engineering roles included the design, analysis, and build of robotics and altitude control systems. Ericsson also served as the Loaned Executive to the Combined Federal Campaign.

Dr. Ericsson is a champion for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education and the future workforce. Throughout her career, she has been a board member for several national academies, universities, and K-12 institutions. Prior to her appointment, she was a mentor to many NASA interns and students, as well as Lead Advisor for a National Society of Black Engineers Jr. Chapter. Dr. Ericsson holds a Bachelor of Science in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in mechanical engineering, aerospace option from Howard University. Dr. Ericsson also earned leadership and management certificates from Radcliffe College and Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Ericsson is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Western Society of Engineers 2016 Washington Award; The Engineering Honor Society 2018 Tau Beta Pi Distinguished Alumnus award; and the top American Society of Mechanical Engineering award, the Ralph Coates Roe Medal (2022). Dr. Ericsson was the first African American female, as well as the first American, to receive a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Howard University, the aerospace option from Howard University, and the first African American female to receive a Ph.D. in engineering at NASA GSFC.

Speech Topics


A Rocket Scientist Grows Up in Brooklyn, NY

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEM/STEAM

A Cool Geek: STEM & Women in Science

How to Do Outstanding Technical Presentations

Brief History of Aerospace Technology and Current Achievements

Hidden and Modern Women Figures in the field of Aerospace

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Historic African America Figures in STEM

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News


15 Awesome Black Female Scientists
Luckily, researchers later found proof of her work in the university's archives. 5. Aprille Ericsson-Jackson.
Former Howard University professor ushered generations of ...
Aprille Ericsson, an engineer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, earned a PhD at Howard under Peter Bainum's guidance. “We called him 'the ...

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