Camille Wardrop Alleyne is a brilliant aerospace engineer whose accomplishments in that field have been extraordinary. In the highly technical fields of science and engineering where women are in the minority, she has achieved against all odds, being one of a few women of colour and the only woman of Caribbean descent in a senior management position at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The recipient of several recognition awards from NASA, she has played a lead role in the design and development of space vehicles, among them the state-of-the-art Orion crew exploration vehicle. She has also received commendations from the US Department of Defense for her work on its ballistic missile defence system.

Fun Facts:

Aerospace engineers work on aircraft that can weigh over a half a million pounds and on spacecrafts that can travel over 17,000 miles an hour.

Based at the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas, USA, Ms Alleyne is the Assistant Program Scientist for the International Space Station (ISS), which is NASA’s only human space flight programme since the closing of the Space Shuttle programme. She is responsible for communicating the scientific and technological accomplishments of the ISS and the benefits to life on Earth to the top leadership at NASA, the US Congress, the general public, and scientific, research and educational communities. She also leads an international education task group, which identifies ISS educational activities that can inspire students and attract them to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

CAREER INFORMATION

What is an aerospace engineer?
Aerospace engineers research, design and build the machines, parts, materials and technologies used in space exploration, aviation and defence systems. They work in teams on spacecraft, aircraft and missiles – all complex, high-tech machines. The teams focus on a specific part of the vehicle or missile, such as the structure, propulsion system, instrumentation or integrated systems. They work to build vehicles (and weapons)

Areas of Specialisation
• Aeronautical engineering  • Astronautical engineering
• Systems engineering       • Aerodynamics
• Celestial mechanics        • Guidance and control systems

What do I need to study?
At CSEC and CAPE:
• Mathematics                     • Physics
• Chemistry                         • Computer Science

A bachelor’s degree in aeronautical, astronautical or aerospace engineering is required. It is possible to study mechanical engineering first and then complete a master’s degree in aerospace engineering.

What skills and traits do I need?
• Managerial and teamwork skills    • Attention to detail
• Strong technical knowledge          • Design skills
• Technology savvy

Famous Aerospace Engineers
Sir George Cayley
Wernher von Braun
Barbara Johnson

Prior to this, Ms Alleyne worked on the Orion project with a team of engineers designing and building the next generation of crew exploration vehicles to replace the current fleet. This new vehicle will have the capability to transport astronauts to destinations beyond Low Earth Orbit such as the moon, asteroids and potentially, Mars. As Manager, Test and Verification, she was responsible for ensuring that the Orion crew and service modules were tested and certified to meet their functional and performance requirements. She was also part of the team that worked on design issues for the crew exploration vehicle cockpit and the integration of the crew module system and subsystems.

Ms Alleyne started her career at the NASA Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, where she operated and tested the equipment responsible for ensuring ideal environmental conditions for astronauts and cargo in the Space Shuttle. She then took on a lead role in the Constellation Program, managing its architecture requirements and leading the integration of its various engineering systems.

Before joining NASA, she was an aerospace systems engineer with the US Missile Defense Agency and the Department of Defense, where she led analysis and integration of several ballistic missile defense projects. They included the Ground-Based Midcourse Interceptor and Aegis Weapon System. She also co-led the planning and execution of the US Navy’s test that marked the first time an AEGIS ship or any mobile platform tracked a boosting Intercontinental Ballistic Missile into outer space.

Camille Wardrop Alleyne was born on 12th October, 1966 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. She grew up with an innate curiosity about the wonders of space and the workings of airplanes. Her parents nurtured these interests by encouraging her to take things apart and reassemble them. As a child, she would sit on the trunk of her dad’s car, star-gazing and thinking about outer space and how she could get there.

She advises students to embrace their talents and become future leaders and innovators. To further this cause, she founded and heads The Brightest Stars Foundation, which encourages young women around the world to be future leaders through the study of science, mathematics and technology. The organisation’s mission is to create a network of learning institutions dedicated to educating girls in scientific and technological fields. It is working on establishing the first-ever Space and Science Academy for Girls in Kenya.

What institutions did she attend?

  • Mucurapo Girls’ RC School, Trinidad

  • St François Girls’ College, Trinidad

  • Howard University, USA
    – BSc in Mechanical Engineering

  • Florida A&M University, USA
    – MSc in Mechanical Engineering (specialisation in Composite Materials)

  • University of Maryland, USA
    – MSc in Aerospace Engineering (specialisation in Hypersonic Aerodynamics and Propulsion)

Other Achievements

  • Outstanding Woman in Aerospace awarded by the National Society of Black Engineers, 2010

  • Certificate of Appreciation for the Transformation of the International Space Station to 6-person Crew Capabilities, 2009

  • NASA Group Achievement Award for Constellation Requirements Development Team, 2007

  • NASA Group Achievement Award for Exploration Systems Architecture Study, 2006

  • Finalist, 2004 Astronaut Selection Program

  • Special Merit Award, Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, 1999

 

 

You are viewing a page/profile from "Caribbean Women in Science and their Careers".

 

   

NIHERST         #77 Eastern Main Road, St Augustine, Trinidad W.I.         Tel: 1 (868) 663-6130        E-mail: icons@niherst.gov.tt