Retired Spacesuit Technician, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Sharon Caples McDougle is regarded as a “modern day hidden figure”. She joined the NASA family working in the Space Shuttle Crew Escape Equipment (CEE) department. She began her career as a CEE spacesuit technician responsible for processing the orange launch/entry suit assemblies worn by astronauts and suiting up the astronaut crews. McDougle was the first African American CEE spacesuit technician.
McDougle went on to become the first woman and first African American CEE crew chief, and the only woman and only African American promoted to the position of manager of the department. She held this position until the Space Shuttle retired, ending her 22-year career with our nation’s space program. She was recognized with the Astronaut “Silver Snoopy” Award, and the Women of Color in Flight Award from Dr. Mae Jemison.
McDougle is also an Air Force veteran where she served as an Aerospace Physiology Specialist responsible for suiting up and strapping in the SR-71 and U-2 reconnaissance aircraft pilots.
McDougle has been recognized as a Mississippi Trailblazer; Mississippi’s Top 25 Most Influential African Americans; Living Legend Lifetime Achievement; Who’s Who of Mississippi Women; a Remarkable Woman; and Tom Joyner/Allstate community service and story of strength award.
She recently became a published author with her first children’s book titled “Suit Up for Launch with Shay!”
McDougle is happily married to her husband Maronald, and they have two children, Dominique, and Corbin. She and her husband are natives of Moss Point, MS, currently residing in the Houston, TX area.
Overview: The habits of mind developed in STEM can help people at every level to deal more effectively with the total process of living as well-adjusted, intellectually competent, self-determining individuals. Without the ability to think critically and independently about problems that involve evidence, quantitative considerations, logical arguments, and uncertainties, we become easy prey for dogmatists, con artists, and purveyors of simple solutions to complex problems. STEM holds the promise of addressing 21st-century challenges in energy, environment, climate, hunger, health, transportation, and communication. STEM principles related to systems, components processes, and relationships give people a sound basis for assessing the use of new technologies and their implications for our future. During this workshop, panel experts will discuss how STEM careers are power seats, and the need for more inclusive representation at the tables where decisions are made.