Aprille Ericsson-Jackson is the current Senior Deputy Instrument Manager on the ICESat-2 Atlas Rocket as well as an engineer working on instruments designed to aid in lunar surface mapping with NASA. She is the first black woman to graduate with a Ph.D in mechanical engineering at Washington D.C’s prestigious Howard University and the first black woman to receive a Ph.D. in engineering at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, after receiving her Bachelors in Science from MIT in aeronautical/astronautical engineering.
Besides her demanding work as an aerospace engineer with NASA, Ericsson-Jackson is an athlete, a committed advocate and outreach coordinator for women and people of color in the STEM fields, a member of the Board of Trustees at Howard University, the chair of the Board of Directors of Howard’s Charter Middle School of Mathematics and Science, and an instructor and lecturer at both Howard University and Bowie State University.
Ericsson-Jackson grew up in the Roosevelt Projects in the Bedford Styuvesant neighborhood in New York City and was the product of determination, a will to succeed, and the public school system. She has gone on to be widely considered a Woman Who Will Change the World, as well as the NASA representative to the President of the United States, among other enormous accomplishments. But perhaps her greatest contribution to gender and technology is the marriage she has made in the power of self-belief and drive with the recognition of the obstacles placed before women of color in the STEM fields. She uses that understanding to do proactive and constant outreach to women of color and others who are often left out of the conversation about the next great discovery.