“You Can Do It, Girl!”​ – NASA Aerospace Engineer Dr. Aprille Ericsson’s Advice for Girls Aspiring to Careers in STEM

Mar 23, 2023 | Spotlights in STEM

Dr. Aprille Ericsson in black coat

We’re thrilled to spotlight the inspiring Dr. Aprille Ericsson, one of NASA’s aerospace engineers who has shattered glass ceilings throughout her remarkable career. As the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University and the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Dr. Ericsson continues to shatter the glass ceiling as a role model for all.

We reached out to Dr. Ericsson to ask her what advice most helped her succeed and what guidance she would give to young people aspiring to thrive in STEM. She shared the following:

“My mom was always saying, ‘You can do it, girl!'”

My mom has always been my #1 cheerleader. During my childhood, many girls were marginalized or forced into stereotypical roles and being told, ‘girls don’t do that.’

In contrast, my mom always encouraged me, whether it was riding a bike, playing basketball, learning karate, doing science fair projects, or excelling at math.

To this day, I absolutely still believe her empowering words, ‘You can do it, girl!’ and I remind my daughter daily that she can do whatever she sets her mind to!”

At STEM Greenhouse, we make a deliberate effort to ensure that we provide mentors and role models that represent the diversity of our student population. Our goal is to provide relatable figures who have faced similar obstacles and can serve as positive examples for our students. By featuring individuals who look like our students and have shared similar experiences, we hope to promote a sense of inclusivity and belonging within the professional world.

You Can Do It, Girl

Additionally, we understand that leveraging advice from a network of successful individuals can be a professional game-changer. That’s why we are passionate about connecting our students with real, tangible role models. By providing diverse and relatable role models like Dr. Ericsson, we aim to create a supportive and inclusive environment that encourages our students to dream big, overcome challenges, and excel in their schooling and beyond.

As we wrap up Women’s History Month, please consider supporting our mission at STEM Greenhouse by making a donation to help us continue providing access to STEM education, diverse role models, mentorship, and resources that empower the next generation of STEM leaders.

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