Aisha Bowe says she has astonished herself with her meteoric rise from a teen struggling with low self-esteem to NASA aerospace engineer and now CEO of a venture encouraging young people to become engineers.
Bowe told WTOP-FM Radio in Washington, D.C., where she lives, that her parents’ divorce when she was a child caused her to struggle in school and with her self-confidence. She said in the radio interview that she couldn’t get into a top university because of her grades, so she attended a community college. Her dad, a former taxi driver in their native Ann Arbor, Michigan, found a math book in the garbage one day and suggested she take math class. She aced the class, and her professor encouraged her to dream bigger.
Bowe went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering in 2008 and a master’s degree in space systems engineering in 2009, both from the University of Michigan.
She met the director of engineering at NASA when he happened to visit her professor and asked her to lead him on a campus tour. He asked Bowe to submit her resume, and she ended up starting at NASA as an intern. She worked there for six years, followed by two years as a contractor. Bowe then co-founded her technology solutions company, STEMBoard, after realizing that her talks to young people — encouraging them to develop both their capabilities and new technologies to benefit the world — inspired her as well.
This article first appeared in Society of Women Engineers Magazine.