Black History Month 2021 Feature: Aprille Ericsson, Ph.D.

Aprille Ericsson, Ph.D. is the New Business Lead for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Instrument Systems and Technology Division. She is currently a member of the Board of Higher Education and Workforce for National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. She received her doctorate from Howard University.

What work have you done in the STEM industry? I worked for multiple different branches within NASA. As an Instrument Project Manager, I led a number of Electro-Mechanical Systems that deliver moving components and assemblies, very much like robotic systems.

Who are your mentors? My mentors are Harry Frisch (retired NASA colleague), Wesley Harris (Aero/Astro at MIT), and Eddie Tunstel (HU alumnus and NASA colleague).

What words of wisdom would you give to robotics students? Failure is part of the process. It takes lots of work to get mechanical robotic systems to complete the tasks we empower them to do. Pay attention to details and work hard - demonstrating grit is very important in this field. 

Anything else you would like to share? It takes many different disciplines working together to create an autonomous robotic system. When diversity collides, it sparks innovation, creating engineering systems that are impactful and support humans in their daily activities.

You can read more about Aprille Ericsson, Ph.D. here. Below are pictures of Aprille working on a robot as a little girl and her working with her Lego team.

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