On Tuesday, February 9th, 2021, Pioneer High School hosted a Q & A session to highlight women in STEM by featuring five current University of Michigan Department of Aerospace Engineering students, Delenn Bauer, Sanomi Cross-Dabrera, Ericka Mendez, Christina Harvey, and Leanne Su, along with renowned U-M Aerospace alumna, Aisha Bowe. The discussion was organized and led by U-M Aerospace Engineering professor, Karthik Duraisamy. The event intended to bring women in STEM together to increase prospective students’ interest in aerospace engineering by inspiring the high school students to seize the opportunities around them and believe that they are capable of greatness.
Aisha Bowe kicked off the discussion by sharing her incredible journey to success. After she graduated from Pioneer High School, she began classes at Washtenaw Community College and then transferred to the University of Michigan where she received her Bachelor’s of Aerospace Engineering and her Master’s of Space Systems Engineering. She recounted tales from her first job at NASA working on nano satellites where she got to eat lunch with Buzz Aldrin and sit in a space shuttle simulator. She accredits all her success to “having the audacity to believe” in herself. Any setback she faced—whether it be failing a class at U-M or getting rejected from a job—she never stopped believing in her success.
“How you think to yourself in your head is so important. Regardless of what people around me saw or thought was possible for me, I knew what I was capable of.”
Current U-M Aerospace students, Delenn Bauer, Sanomi Cross-Dabrera, Ericka Mendez, Christina Harvey, and Leanne Su also shared how U-M Aerospace has helped them succeed. They discussed their appreciation for the hands-on curriculum, the various project team opportunities, the world-class-research programs offered by the university, and experiences with finding internships. Additionally, they provided general college advice such as how to navigate the transition from high school to college, the value of a strong community of supportive peers, and the importance of mental health check-ins. The students particularly emphasized the fact that it is natural to not have figured out one’s future plans, and stressed the importance of reaching out for help and advice. Overall, the event strived to inspire high school students and encourage young women to explore aerospace engineering through open conversation with the current U-M Aerospace Engineering students and the alumnus, Aisha Bowe.
If you or your school would like to engage with Michigan Aerospace faculty, students or alumni, please contact our Outreach Committee.
Aisha Bowe is an Aero Woman Making History. She’s the Founder and CEO of STEMBoard, a tech company that specializes in utilizing big data to create smart systems and software solutions for clients across the public and private sectors. To learn more about her extraordinary career, visit Aisha’s LinkedIn page.
Michigan Aerospace Engineering