FAMILY BACKGROUND OF Dr. WANDA M. AUSTIN
Our role model in team Hard-Hat and Engine is Dr. Wanda. M. Austin was born on September 8, 1954 into the family of Mr. & Mrs. Pompey in New York. She is 67years. Her family lived above a barber shop, where her father cut hair 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week. Her father never finished high school but he valued education and told Austin and her other sisters that our number-one job was to do well in school. her mother name is Murry Pompey and she work as a nurse’s aide. While in elementary school, Austin have to help his father to clean the shop after school and do some house chores then her home work. Growing up in the inner city during the 1960s was a racially and emotionally charged period because most of the buildings in Austin’s crime-infested neighborhood had bars on the windows and this makes most of her neighbors felt deprived with little hope for the future, Austin family was poor also, but she was fortunate because she had a loving home, and parents who gave them all they could. she got married to Wade Austin, and she have two adult sons.
Dr. Wanda Austin started her life by attending a two year program at Hoffman junior high school and her experience at Bronx high school of science where she begin her studies at 1967 and graduated in 1971 when she was in the third grade, her public school was selected for racial integration. She was bused to a mostly white neighborhood and began to live her life split between two worlds. In one, she was a minority student trying to take advantage of an opportunity to get a better education and in the other, she lived in an all African-American world that required her to navigate carefully to stay free of drugs, teen pregnancy, and low expectations that were so prevalent in her neighborhood. Her parents helped her tremendously in this endeavor by creating a circle around their children that was focused on the positive. Austin became involved in Girl Scouts and even served as a spokesperson for the New York-based organization. That was an exciting, positive experience for her as this help her to began to have a vision of what might be possible for her future. She earned bachelor degree in mathematics in 1975 from franklin and Marshall college and a master’s degree in system Engineering and Mathematics (1977) from the University of Pittsburgh, After completing her master’s degree. She worked at Rockwell international for eighteen month and a Ph.D. in system engineering from the University of California in 1988.
In 1977, Austin accepted a position at Rockwell International in California working with missile systems. Two years later, she joined The Aerospace Corporation, where she served as a member of the technical staff for seventeen years. In 1996, she was promoted to general manager of the electronic systems division, and was then named general manager of the Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) Division.
After three years, she became senior vice president of the engineering and technology group; and, in 2004, Austin became senior vice president of the national system group based in Chantilly, Virginia. In 2008, she was transferred back to California and was named the first female and first African American CEO of The Aerospace Corporation.
For eight years, Austin led the organization’s 3,600 employees and managed annual revenues of $950 million at seventeen offices nationwide. Austin retired from her position in 2016, and published her book Making Space: Strategic Leadership for a Complex World. Two years later, Austin was named the first African American female interim president of the University of Southern California.
Austin Award and Achievement
Austin received numerous awards including the Women of the Year award and the Robert H. Herndon Black Image Award from The Aerospace Group. In 2002, she was named a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Austin was also inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame in 2007, and received the Black Engineer of the Year Award in 2009. The following year, Austin received the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ von Braun Award for Excellence in Space Program Management. She was later honored with the Horatio Alger Award and the NDIA Peter B. Teets Industry Award in 2012,
In addition to these honors, Austin was selected to serve on President Obama’s Review of Human Spaceflight Plans Committee in 2009, and the Defense Science Board in 2010. That same year, she was elected to the USC Board of Trustees. In 2014, Austin was appointed to the NASA Advisory Council; and, the following year, was appointed to serve on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Austin also serves on the board of directors for Chevron and Amgen.
Dr. Wanda. M. Austin achievement include the national intelligence medallion for meritorious service, The air force scroll of achievement, The national reconnaissance officer gold medal, The AIAA Godard Astronautics award, The career communication group black engineer of the year award. The bob hope distinguished citizen award, and above all she was awarded the USC Presidential Medallion in 2018.