Top African Americans in Technology

Donya Douglas on her love of the sciences

sisters and me to believe that we could accomplish anything we wanted.  He also loved math and science and found astronomy fascinating.

What would you say are the three keys of success that have directly been used in your life?

First, always be willing to give of your time and talents. Second, never be afraid of failure. Lastly, it’s important to maintain balance between work, home, and community involvement.

What types of activities at NASA are geared toward motivating black students to seek careers in science and technology?

In addition to the engineering and scientific work accomplished at NASA, there is a long history of providing outreach to the African American community through partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), summer programs , mentoring, “Take Our Child to Work Day” programs, space camps, science fairs, and more.  On a personal level, I derive great pleasure from speaking at local schools, serving as formal and/or informal mentors, participating in career day, judging science fair competitions, etc.

Where do you see space exploration going in the next five years?

Given the work that we do here at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, I’d like to see continued support for new space and Earth Science robotic missions.  Of primary interest to me, are those missions with a focus on understanding our changing planet.  As for the agency as a whole, I anticipate that we will continue to push human exploration beyond Earth to the moon, Mars, and beyond.

Friday: Ajamu Wesley, senior software architect, IBM

Monday: Reginald Smith, molecular biologist, General Electric

For more information on African American innovators in the sciences, check out the March 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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  • Michelle

    It’s great to see an African American women in science, engineering, and technology. It’s also great that she is willing to give back through mentoring and outreach.

  • Janelle Brown

    Wonderful. I am very proud of my sister and her accomplishments.

  • Toshiba F

    I appreciate the young woman in this story. I myself have a career in Science, Math, Technology and Education. I love to hear stories about African American women in Technology. Donya’s aspiriation and accomplishments are admirable. Giving back to those less fortunate who seek knowledge of the industry is a must and, I must make more time starting today. Hard work and dedication truly has beneficial rewards. I hope your story reaches young girls everywhere. Thanks for the story.

  • Jaydee

    Great article so many stars here at Goddard… that girl got talent….;)

  • Letitia

    I love to read of stories about Black women in succeeding in ‘non-traditional’ fields. Donya’s accomplishments are very admirable. We’ve come a long way, baby! I hate to admit this, but when I was younger, I had not heard of being an engineer other than being a train engineer. Therefore, I can definitely appreciate the focus on giving back to the community, and exposing young people to the marvelous opportunities open to them in the STEM fields. Black Enterprise, thanks for this story…it is my hope that this story enlightens and encourages young girls everywhere.

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  • Crystal

    I taught pre and elemenatary school for 20 years I always told my students everything that exist in the universe is already inside of them. In the classroom this created sparks and a natural majic that was always present. I shared with my students tools that enabled them to access any information they so desired from within them. At the level of Mental and Spiritual eduction our learning environment was always highly charged with excitment and enthusiasm because the children knew already that the Algebraic Theorem existed in them. So students skills always went throught the roof. I have witnessed Kindegarten students reveal to me without any formal information from me or any outside source the facts of photosynthesis using their languaging to explain. We are the first scientist let us remember our Ancient Legacy. Let’s continue to Innovate.

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  • enjoyed reading your articles excellent stuff keep up the good work

  • Leo Ruiz

    good articles