Birth: April 1, 1963
Specialty: Aerospace Engineering
Aerospace Engineer at NASA
NASA Speakers Bureau
Ralph Coats Roe medal Recipient
Image Source: NASA
Want to follow in aerospace engineer Aprille Ericsson’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. It is 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 MIT, receiving a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical-astronautical engineering in 1986. 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 including the James Webb Telescope and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter..
1995 marked a historical year when she was the first African-American woman 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 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. As the new business lead for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Instrument Systems and Technology Division she connects scientists and project managers with the instrument technologies they need to accomplish their missions.
Beyond her work at NASA she is a dedicated mentor and champion for diversity in STEM fields – so much so that in 2022 she was awarded The Roe Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for her international work encouraging young people, women, and people from other underrepresented groups to pursue STEM careers.
Written by Angela Goad