Press Release

Three NASA Langley Researchers Awarded ‘Women of Color in STEM’ Honors

By SpaceRef Editor
October 19, 2015
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Three researchers from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, are among five NASA employees who were honored t at the 2015 Women of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Conference on Oct. 16 and 17 in Detroit.

The winner of the Outstanding Technical Contribution in Government award, Mia Siochi, is a senior materials scientist at NASA Langley. Siochi, who has been at NASA since 1990, earned her bachelor’s degree from Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines and master’s and doctor of philosophy degrees from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

“What I usually tell students about pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields is they should find their passion,” said Siochi. “Not everybody is good at the same thing, but we all have strengths that can contribute to STEM – whether it’s designing computer animation, teaching, writing stories to help people better understand complex technical content or creating art to illustrate abstract concepts.”

Debbie Martinez, the recipient of the Career Achievement in Government award, also has worked at Langley since 1990. Martinez has a bachelor’s degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, and a master’s degree from Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia. She is the execution manager for the Convergent Aeronautics Solutions Project.

“There are so many more opportunities for students in the technical fields now then when I was in engineering school,” said Martinez. “What I tell my daughter, Solimar, and others is to investigate all the different and diverse areas available in STEM. There are so many options — whether, for example, it’s combining biology and mechanical engineering to work in biomechanics or music and engineering to work in acoustics to design quieter aircraft.”

Awarded for Managerial Leadership in Government, Junilla Boatwright Applin, came to NASA in 1989. She is the acting associate director for flight systems in the Langley Engineering Directorate. She has a bachelor’s degree from ODU and is a graduate of the Simmons Fellowship Program.

“Everything we do, all that we are, encompasses science, technology, engineering and math,” said Applin. “This led me to engineering which became my passion. I tell students embrace your journey of self-discovery, find your passion, and enjoy the journey because the sky is no longer the limit.”

NASA Langley Center Director David Bowles presented all three women with their awards at the conference’s Women of Color Awards Gala on Oct. 17.

A fourth NASA winner, also for Managerial Leadership in Government, Delene Sedillo, from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, also received her honor at the gala Saturday. Marie Arredondo, from NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, received the Technology Rising Star award at a luncheon on Oct. 16.

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SpaceRef staff editor.