Brooklyn’s Ericsson leads DoD science

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Howard University alumnus Aprille Joy Ericsson as Assistant Secretary of Defense (Science and Technology) at the Department of Defense.

Ericsson was the New Business Lead, Instrument Systems and Technology Division, for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, home to the nation’s largest concentration of scientists, engineers and technologists dedicated to Earth and space science. Ericsson has served at NASA for more than 30 years in a variety of leadership positions to include chief technologist, program executive for Earth Science, business executive for Space Science as well as leading new business strategy for the center. Ericsson has a depth and breadth of experience in Astrophysics, Heliophysics, Planetary and Earth Science with a portfolio including missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope, ICESat-1 and 2, and lunar orbiters.

Ericsson has held multiple adjunct faculty appointments at universities and serves on several boards. She is also co-founder and advisor to the nonprofit STEM youth Dynamic Mathematical Visionaries National Society of Black Engineers Jr. Chapter in Washington, D.C. In these roles, Ericsson has been a tireless champion for the advancement of women and people of color in the STEM fields.

Ericsson is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and honors including being named one of the top 50 minority women working in science and engineering by the National Technical Association and recognized among the top 20 “Most Powerful Women Engineers” by Business Insider. Her awards include the Washington Award from the Western Society of Engineers, Tau Beta Pi (Engineering Honor Society) Alumni of Distinction Award and the 2022 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Ralph Coates Roe Medal awardee, the highest award bestowed by ASME.

Ericsson earned a B.S. in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering from MIT. In addition, she earned a Master of Engineering, as well as a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University. Ericsson has also received honorary degrees from Medgar Evers College, Rutgers, and Saint Peter’s Universities.