Dr. Wendy Okolo, an aerospace engineer at NASA Ames, has received the “Black Engineer’s Most Promising Engineer in Government Award” at the BEYA STEM Conference in Washington D.C. Okolo is a Special Emphasis Programs Manager in the Intelligent Systems Division at Ames, and a researcher who is developing techniques for improving the maneuverability of spacecraft during entry.
The Ames Research Center, also known as NASA Ames, is a major NASA research center at Moffett Federal Airfield in California’s Silicon Valley. It was founded in 1939 as the second National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics laboratory.
According to NASA Ames, on the STMD-ECI project, she leads the controls team to develop unconventional control techniques for deployable vehicles, to enable precision landing and improve maneuverability during the entry, descent, and landing phases of spaceflight. The STMD-ECI project is a $2.5 million-dollar project that she proposed and won as part of a six-member early- career scientist team.
Wendy Okolo was only 26 years old when she became the first black woman to obtain a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington. She earned both undergraduate and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering from UT Arlington.
Dr. Okolo is a "Shero" and inspiration to little girls of color, and girls all around the world to aspire to work in STEM.