Bahamian-American Engineer Receives Prestigious NASA Honor Award for Equal Employment Opportunity
CALIFORNIA – Aisha Bowe, a Bahamian-American engineer who at the beginning of 2012 won the 21st Century Trailblazers Award for Aerodynamics and Aviation and Outstanding Technical Contribution at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Aerospace Conference in Los Angeles, has received yet another award. Bowe will receive the prestigious National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, Honor Award for Equal Employment Opportunity.
The medal is awarded to both Government and non-Government individuals for outstanding achievement and material contribution to the principles and goals of NASA's Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity, and Inclusion Programs, either within the Government or within community organizations or groups.
"Of all the things I do in life outreach is the closest to my heart. As a child I was told by my high school guidance counselor that I would be much better off focusing on obtaining a cosmetology license, because in her opinion, I was never a good student and wouldn't amount to much. As a result, I am passionate about uplifting others who may have faced the same difficulties I had," said the young engineer who lives in California and is the daughter of Mr. Glenroy Bowe and granddaughter of Mr. Forester Bowe of Nassau, Bahamas.
"While working to transcend my circumstances I resolved that once I reached a certain level of stability I would dedicate my life to lighting the way for those who are often overlooked. Although I am extremely grateful for the award, I strongly feel as though I'm only doing what I've been called to do."
Bowe has spearheaded several important activities that strengthened and spotlighted NASA's commitment to diversity and opportunity. Ms. Bowe serves as NASA's liaison to the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program. MESA is designed to prepare and motivate educationally disadvantaged students throughout California to successfully pursue college-preparatory coursework and promote careers in math and science. In February 2011, Ms. Bowe organized an “Industry Shadow Day” at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) for students and faculty involved in the MESA program. Students toured several labs, interacted with NASA researchers, and got to fly NASA's world-class flight simulators. The success of the event prompted ARC to organize a second "Industry Shadow Day" in the following school year. That event took place in November 2011, and its success has secured it a recurring date on ARC’s annual education/outreach calendar of events.
Ms. Bowe organized and/or participated in various other events and student tours of Ames Research Center, ARC, that reached out to underrepresented minority students and/or institutions. For example, in March 2011 she organized a field trip for whichever class at Ocala Middle School finished the term with the most students on the honor roll. In May 2011, Ms. Bowe organized a resume workshop for MESA students featuring Human Resources experts from ARC. Ms. Bowe also spoke on panels (including an audience of 200 at UC Berkeley) and filmed a NASA NOW segment about her educational and work experiences and her enthusiasm for NASA and the engineering discipline. Additionally, Bowe was responsible in getting Bahamian intern Terran Arnold, student of College of the Bahamas to California this summer to work along with her.
Bowe has made significant contributions in achieving NASA’s equal opportunity goals and received the award for her dedication to the principles of diversity and opportunity, for her service to the ARC community, and for her energy, passion and enthusiasm in demonstrating to students of all backgrounds what is possible.