ON THE RISE

Wendy Okolo, the Nigerian Woman who is an Award-Winning Aerospace Engineer in the United States of America

Wendy Okolo is A National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) aerospace engineer of Nigerian descent. NASA is an agency in the United States in charge of civilian space programs, aeronautics and aerospace research. According to the Philadelphia Tribune, Okolo is the first black woman to acquire a doctorate in the sector. She was only twenty-six years old when she acquired this honor. According to the information provided on the organization’s website on her profile, she serves as a special emphasis program manager in the Intelligent Systems’ division of the Ames Research Center found in Silicon Valley, California. She adds up as a research engineer in the Discovery and Systems Health Technology (DaSH) area. She performs tasks such as researching control systems applications, system health supervision as well as coming up with solutions for matters concerning the creation of aircraft and spacecraft.
She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree as well as her Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Arlington in the years 2010 and 2015. While she was still a student at the university, she was president of women engineers. Dr. Okolo concluded her dissertation research, particularly pertained with aircraft fuel-saving mechanisms. Her research the received financial assistance from a number of organizations, including Texas Space Grant Consortium (TSGC), the Airforce Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) through the John Leland Atwood Graduate Fellowship, Department of Defense through the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, and Zonta International through the Amelia Earhart Fellowship.

She served as a summer researcher at Wright Patterson Air Force base in the Control Design and Analysis Branch at the Air Force Research Laboratory after completing her graduate education. While she was there, she worked with one of the fastest crewed air crafts in the world. In a trip that could take some of the fastest aircraft in the world five hours, this aircraft flew for only sixty-seven minutes.

This is what she said to the Cable about the experience,  “I was like I’m sure these guys are so smart, what am I going to bring to the table. I was given an assignment to correct an error in a code system which I did and that momentarily ended the impostor syndrome.”

Apart from being the first woman to acquire a doctorate in aerospace engineering, she won the 2019 edition of Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA), a Global Competitiveness Conference Award, for being the Most Promising Engineer in the United States Government. She took to her social media thanking BEYA for the award.

“#beya #beya2019 @BlackEngineer thank you for the honor”

The BEYA Conference is working to allow for more interaction between students, instructors, and Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) proficients. The BEYA Conference is also promoting cooperation between individuals and their territorial STEM sources. Dr. Okolo also has an aim to embolden girls to chase their dreams in STEM. She also disclosed that her accomplishments are as a result of her sisters’ efforts in teaching her biology and other sciences through their day to day realities. She termed her sisters as her all-time heroes.

 

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