Aprille Ericsson is award-winning aerospace trailblazer who achieved a pair of historic firsts as part of her engineering career. Dr. Ericsson is the first woman to earn her Ph. D in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University, and the first Black woman to obtain a Ph. D in Engineering from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Aprille Joy Ericsson was born on April 1, 1963, the oldest of four daughters raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. An exceptional student, Ericsson moved to Cambridge, Mass. when she turned 15. After graduating from the Cambridge School of Weston, Ericsson entered M.I.T. and left the prestigious institution with a bachelor’s in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.
At the urging of her best friend, Ericsson then entered Howard University and earned both her master’s and Ph. D in Mechanical Engineering in Aerospace. Ericsson went on to work for Goddard for its Guidance, Navigation and Control, Design Analysis section.