Honorary Degree Recipient: Wanda M. Austin, Ph.D.
Dr. Wanda M. Austin is president and chief executive officer of The Aerospace Corporation, a leading architect for the nation’s national security space programs. The Aerospace Corporation has nearly 4,000 employees and annual revenues of more than $850 million. She assumed this position on January 1, 2008.
Austin previously was senior vice president of the company’s National Systems Group, which supports the national security space and intelligence community. Prior to that, Austin served as the company’s senior vice president of the Engineering and Technology Group.
She is internationally recognized for her work in satellite and payload system acquisition, systems engineering, and system simulation. Before joining Aerospace, Austin was a member of the technical staff at Rockwell International.
Austin served on President Obama’s Review of Human Spaceflight Plans Committee in 2009, and in 2010 was appointed to the Defense Science Board.
Austin earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Franklin & Marshall College, master’s degrees in systems engineering and mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh, and a doctorate in systems engineering from the University of Southern California.
Austin is a fellow of the AIAA, and is a member of the Defense Science Board, the National Academy of Engineering, the International Academy of Astronautics, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Space Foundation, and on the Board of Trustees for the University of Southern California and the National Geographic Society.
Austin has received numerous awards and citations. Among them are the National Intelligence Medallion for Meritorious Service, the Air Force Scroll of Achievement, and the National Reconnaissance Office Gold Medal. In 2010 she received the AIAA von Braun Award for Excellence in Space Program Management, and is a recipient of the 2012 Horatio Alger Award and the 2012 NDIA Peter B. Teets Industry Award.
Commitment to STEM
Austin is committed to inspiring the next generation to study the STEM disciplines and to make science and engineering preferred career choices. Under her guidance, the corporation has undertaken a number of initiatives in support of this goal, including participation in MathCounts, US FIRST Robotics, and Change the Equation. Austin was among the first CEOs to commit to Change the Equation.