Dr. Aprille Joy Ericsson
Dr. Aprille Joy Ericsson is the 2016 Washington Award recipient. Born in Brooklyn, NY, educated in the NYC public schools, and later in Cambridge, Ma, Ericsson received her B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at the MIT. She received her Masters of Engineering and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Howard University with an Aerospace option.
Dr. Ericsson is the former Deputy to the Chief Technologist for the Applied Engineering & Technology Directorate at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Currently, Dr. Ericsson serves as the NASA GSFC Program Manager for Small Business Innovative Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Research (SBIR/STTR). This SBA funded program enables small businesses and small businesses collaborating with universities, respectively, to compete for opportunities to solve selected R&D challenges faced by various government agencies within the United States.
In keeping with the purpose of the Washington Award—recognition of devoted, unselfish, and pre-eminent service in advancing human progress—the Western Society of Engineers acknowledges Dr. Ericsson’s 25 years engineering career the majority of which has been at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in the Engineering Directorate. Dr. Ericsson has also worked at NASA HQs as a Program Executive for the Earth Science Enterprise and a Resource Manager for the Space Science Enterprise. For 10 years, she has been Instrument Project Manager (IM) for various instruments which include: the Near-Infrared Spectrograph on the James Webb Space Telescope, the Project Engineer for the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter which launched April 2009, on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. For 3.5 years she served as the Deputy Instrument Project Manager for ICESat-2’s sole instrument the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS), a $480M lidar instrument that will continue the important observations of ice-sheet elevation change, sea-ice freeboard, and vegetation canopy height begun by ICESat(-I) in 2003.
Dr. Ericsson serves on numerous boards, and in community leadership positions. She is proud to be the first (African American) female to receive a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from HU; the first American to receive a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, the Aerospace option from HU; and the first African American female to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering at NASA GSFC.
The Western Society of Engineers will present the Washington Award to Dr. Ericsson at the Chicagoland Engineering Awards Benefit on February 26, 2016, during National Engineers Week.