President and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation to speak at UCLA Engineering Commencement
By UCLA Samueli Newsroom
By Wileen Wong Kromhout
The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science will hold its 2012 commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 16 at Drake Stadium on the UCLA campus. Dr. Wanda M. Austin, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Aerospace Corporation, will be presenting this year’s keynote address. The Aerospace Corporation is one of the leading architects of the nation’s national security space programs, with nearly 4,000 employees and annual revenues of more than $850 million.
Before assuming her current position in January of 2008, Austin was senior vice president of Aerospace’s National Systems Group, which supports the national security space and intelligence community in the acquisition, launch and orbital operation of advanced technology space systems and their ground data stations. From June 2001 through December 2003, Austin was senior vice president of the Engineering and Technology Group, directing a staff of 1,000 engineers and scientists working in a wide range of space-related disciplines.
Austin is internationally recognized for her work in satellite and payload system acquisition, systems engineering, and system simulation. She served on President Barack Obama’s Review of Human Spaceflight Plans Committee in 2009, and in 2010 was appointed to the Defense Science Board.
A leader in inspiring young people in careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM, Austin is one of the founding CEOs on the Change the Equation board, is recognized as one of the 100 Women Leaders in STEM, and is a regular speaker on STEM to all audiences.
Austin, who is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, earned her bachelor’s in mathematics from Franklin & Marshall College, master’s in systems engineering and mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh, and her doctorate in systems engineering from the University of Southern California.
She is also a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a member of the Defense Science Board, the International Academy of Astronautics and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of Southern California and the National Geographic Society.
Austin has received numerous awards and citations including 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.