Name: Dr. William M. Jackson
Contribution to Science: The award-winning scientist is a Morehouse College graduate who is best recognized for leading the team that created the first satellite telescope for observation. This contribution is important to science and technology because the satellite telescope, which is called the International Ultraviolet Explorer, was the first of its kind and produced ultraviolet observations of things such as comets and quasars (celestial objects that release tons of energy).
What also made the IUE so valuable to science, namely space exploration, is that scientists were able to make immediate observations of the visuals the IUE produced. Jackson is a recipient of awards such as the Morehouse College Bennie Trail Blazer award, which he received in 2011.
He has taught chemistry at Howard University and the University of California, Davis.
Name: Aprille Ericsson-Jackson
Expertise: Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering
Contribution to Science: Ericcson-Jackson’s love for science started as young girl. That interest followed her all the way to graduate school and she became the first African-American female to receive a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University. Her trailblazing did not stop there. She is also the first African-American woman to obtain her Ph.D. in Engineering at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
She currently spends her time at NASA conducting research to ensure that spacecraft are able to handle certain aerodynamic factors such as altitude and gravitational force.
She has been influential in increasing early awareness in the STEM fields for minorities and women. In 2010, she spoke at the White House to the First Lady’s Mentoring Program for High School Girls, and she has addressed Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.