Kickass Woman Of The Day: Dr. Mica Endsley, Air Force’s First-Ever Chief Scientist

For the first time ever the U.S. Air Force has a female chief scientist. Her name is Dr. Mica Endsley and we think she’s pretty kickass. She assumed her official duties for the Air Force on June 3th and is the 34th chief scientist to be appointed.

This is an amazing accomplishment, but looking at her past, it really comes as no surprise:

  • She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas Tech University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. During school, she worked at Johnson Manufacturing, CBC Inc., and later at Southwestern Bell as an office manager. Not only did she put herself through school with these jobs, but she also learned that engineering has just as much to do with machines as it does with people and human performance.
  • After graduation, she went on to receive her Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from Purdue and later her Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial and Systems Engineering from University of Southern California. Wow, that’s a lot of education! While at school in California, she worked her way up in Northrop Corporation working on Air Force programs.
  • After receiving her PhD, Dr. Endsley taught at Industrial Engineering at Texas Tech and then at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in their Technology Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. It was while she was teaching that she began developing her idea of “situation awareness.” “Situation awareness” basically means understanding all aspects of decisions and situations when it comes to air traffic control, driving, and military command and control.
  • Dr. Endsley has written many scholarly articles on “situation awareness,” coauthored a book entitled Designing for Situational Awareness, and is recognized internationally for her work in the field. As if this impressive résumé were not enough, Dr. Endsley only left academia to found her own company, SA Technologies.
  • She is also a mother of three, so basically she is a superhero.

With her new position, Dr. Endsley also intends to encourage young women to pursue careers in the STEM (sciences, mathematics, technology, and engineering) fields. Here’s what she had to say about women in STEM:

“I want to share with the young women I speak to, the many advantages of a science, technology, engineering and math career. [It will] make many more interested if they knew how very creative and team-oriented engineering work is and how satisfying it is to be able to solve real problems that affect people’s lives.”

Awesome work, Dr. Mica Endsley!

[U.S. Department of Defense]
[The Daily Beast]
[Texas Tech University]

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