Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day!

It’s not often that we get to hear directly from top experts in the engineering field. And it is even less often that we have the opportunity to spend a day with the top female scientists and engineers working for NASA.

Luckily for us, National Engineers Week is coming up. And even better, February 23rd is Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, an exciting opportunity to learn about the careers and research of some of NASA’s leading female experts.

Amongst the group are some quite stellar individuals, including Charlie Blackwell Thompson, the first female launch director for NASA, Cinda Chullen, an environmental control and life support expert and team lead for the development of advanced spacesuits, and Nancy Bray, director of Spaceport Integration and Services at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Charlie Blackwell Thompson

Charlie Blackwell Thompson’s rise in the Space Shuttle launch control arena to become the first female launch director is particularly inspiring. After graduating from Clemson University in 1988 with a degree in computer engineering, she came to the Kennedy Space Center with Boeing as a payload flight software engineer. She served as the lead electrical engineer for multiple Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions, and also served as the ground operations integration lead engineer for the Orbital Space Plane before joining NASA in 2004 as a test director in the Launch and Landing Division.

Charlie Blackwell-Thompson

As well as serving as the chief of Launch and Landing through the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program (SSP), Blackwell-Thompson also served as the Test Management Branch chief for GSDO, based at Kennedy. And that brings us to today, where she serves as the launch director for NASA’s Ground Systems Development and Operations Program (GSDO) in KSC. She will be overseeing the countdown and liftoff of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft during its first flight test. She is NASA’s first female launch director.

Needless to say, Blackwell-Thompson has had a magnificent career in aerospace and engineering. Along with all of the other leading female scientists and engineers that will be present, Blackwell-Thompson makes this a cannot-miss event.

Learn more about Charlie Blackwell-Thompson through NASA’s own biographies (here and here).

Event Details

Tune into the event on February 23rd, with the first speaker starting at 9:00 am. Contact Bethanne Hull at for more information, or explore the Digital Learning Network special events page.

To participate in the LIVE Q&A panel for any of the speakers, register here.