Wanda M. Austin
In the spirit of fostering a future of pioneers, let's end with another more modern -- but no less trailblazing -- engineer. Dr. Wanda Austin, armed with a doctorate in systems engineering from the University of Southern California, has been instrumental not only in shaping the U.S. aerospace industry, but also in ensuring national security within the space community. Even President Obama thought she was important enough to put her on a board to review and plan future space missions.
Austin became a senior vice president of the Aerospace Corporation, an independent research and development center serving national space programs, in 2001. She eventually led a group responsible for supporting the intelligence and security community in space systems and ground stations [source: NASA]. In 2008, Austin vaulted from VP to president and CEO of the corporation. In 2009, she landed her gig on President Obama's Review of Human Spaceflight Plans Committee -- no doubt a pretty cool group of people, who have come together to advise the government on the future of space missions [source: NASA].
Author's Note: Famous Black Engineers Throughout History
Let's just reiterate: Only 5 percent of the engineers in the United States are black, whereas black people make up about 12 percent of the total population. Yes, there have been some amazing accomplishments from black men and women in the field. But that doesn't mean there's not quite a bit of room to keep engineering change.
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. "George Biddle Kelley." Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (June 13, 2013) http://www.odlchapter.com/wordpress/?page_id=349
- American Experience. "Building the Alaska Highway." PBS. (June 13, 2013) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/biography/alaska-men/
- American Society of Civil Engineering. "Profiles: Engineers of the Past." 2013. (June 13, 2013) http://www.asce.org/People-and-Projects/People/Black-History/Profiles--Engineers-of-the-Past/
- American Society of Civil Engineers. "Alaska Highway Veterans." 2013. (June 13, 2013) http://www.asce.org/People-and-Projects/People/Bios/Alaska-Highway-Veterans/
- Barksdale-Hall, Roland. "The Testimony of William Hunter Dammond." Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 1 no. 8. June 2007. (June 13, 2013) http://www.jpanafrican.com/docs/vol1no8/TestimonyofWilliamHunterDammond_JPASvol1no8.pdf
- College of Engineering. "1948: Howard P. Grant becomes the college's first black graduate." University of California, Berkeley. 2013. (June 13, 2013) http://coe.berkeley.edu/about/history-and-traditions/1948-howard-p-grant.html
- Collins, Aaron. "Black engineers' contributions to the world." Nebraska Blueprint. Summer 2002. (June 13, 2013) http://engineering.unl.edu/publications/blueprint/archive/Summer02/BlackEngineers.html
- Ericsson, Aprille. "Dr. Aprille Joy Ericsson." Howard University. (June 13, 2013) http://www.howard.edu/ceacs/news/Aprille-Ericsson.htm
- George Biddle Kelley Foundation. "George Biddle Kelley Scholarship." (June 19, 2013) http://www.gbkfoundation.org/scholarship.html
- Iqbal, Muneeza. "CEO Ursula Burns tells her story." DailyFinance.com. Feb. 25, 2013. (June 13, 2013) http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/02/25/ursula-burns-makers-pbs-xerox/
- Kobler, Jason. "Women, minorities vastly underrepresented in engineering profession." U.S. News and World Report. Oct. 28, 2011. (June 13, 2013) http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/stem-education/2011/10/28/women-minorities-vastly-underrepresented-in-engineering-profession
- Large, Jerry. "Boeing's Walt Braithwaite." The Seattle Times. June 9, 1996. (June 13, 2013) http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19960609&slug=2333494
- NASA Quest. "Aprille Ericsson." NASA. (June 13, 2013) http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/frontiers/ericsson.html
- NASA. "Dr. Wanda M. Austin." June 4, 2009. (June 13, 2013) http://www.nasa.gov/offices/hsf/members/austin-bio.html
- NASA. "Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee." June 1, 2009. (June 13, 2013) http://www.nasa.gov/offices/hsf/about/charter.html
- Northern California Council of Black Professional Engineers. "Elijah McCoy." (June 13, 2013)
- Phillips, Bruce E. "Top Black Executives in High-tech and Science." Black Engineer. Jan. 29, 2002. (June 13, 2013) http://www.blackengineer.com/artman/publish/printer_238.shtml
- Portland State University. "Outstanding engineer and Aerospace President and CEO Wanda M. Austin to accept award from PSU." July 2011. (June 13, 2013) http://www.pdx.edu/sites/www.pdx.edu.cecs/files/Denton_11.pdf
- Simnacher, Joe. "Hugh G. Robinson." The Dallas Morning News. November 28, 2010. (June 13, 2013) http://www.dallasnews.com/obituary-headlines/20100305-Hugh-G-Robinson-Retired-529.ece
- The HistoryMakers. "Wanda Austin." Informedia Digital Video Library. 2012. (June 13, 2013) http://www.idvl.org/sciencemakers/Bio40.html
- United States Patent Office. "Patent No. 747949." Dec. 29, 1903. (June 13, 2013) https://www.google.com/patents/US747949?pg=PA1&dq=december+29+1903+dammond&hl=en&sa=X&ei=daW4Ue_TIYeligKp-YCADg&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=december%2029%201903%20dammond&f=false
- United States Patent Office. "Patent No. 823513." June 19, 1906. (June 13, 2013) https://www.google.com/patents/US823513?pg=PA1&dq=Safety+System+for++Operating+Railroads%E2%80%9D&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Lqa4UZXwG8abiAL5uoDwCg&ved=0CGwQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=Safety%20System%20for%20%20Operating%20Railroads%E2%80%9D&f=false
- USA Science Festival. "Dr. Aprille Ericsson." 2012. (June 13, 2013) http://www.usasciencefestival.org/schoolprograms/niftyfifty/525-dr-aprille.html
The Panama Canal has been an engineering wonder since it opened in the 1900s. HowStuffWorks looks at its history and how it changed maritime trade.