Want to follow in aerospace engineer Aprille Ericsson-Jackson’s footsteps? Her best advice: “Read, read, read and learn, learn, learn.” For her it is important to learn about those that have come before and it also important to use your success to help others.
In the past she has stated “I feel it is important to create an early mathematical and/or scientific interest in young people and maintain it throughout their later years;” She is a member of the NASA Speakers Bureau and has a goal to help what she sees as a downward spiral of achievement in math and science for girls.
Knowing she wanted to be an aerospace engineer since high school she attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical-astronautical engineering in 1986 and with a drive to become an astronaut she continued her education at Howard University. Joining NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in 1992, the same year she earned her master’s degree in engineering, was the beginning of a career working with small satellites and other space based technologies.
1995 marked a historical year when she was the first African-American women to earn a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Howard University which also made her the first African-American woman with that type of doctorate working at Goddard. While working at GSFC as part of the Guidance, Navigation and Control, Design Analysis section she has been involved in many projects. Her efforts have been part of the Microwave Anisotropy Probe, the James Webb Space Telescope, and the Integrated Mission Design Center. Her work on the Tropical Rain Measuring mission has helped to correlate the effects of El Niño and La Niña on crop productivity. Currently she is the deputy manager for the ICESat ATLAS instrument which uses laser technology to see how the polar ice cap surface is changing. She is also an instrument manager for a proposed mission to bring dust from the Martian lower atmosphere back to Earth.
Written by Angela Goad