Roo News

The Student News Site of University of Missouri - Kansas City

Roo News

Roo News

Amidst the festive spirit of St. Patricks Day, the iconic symbol of luck, the clover, reminds us of the rich traditions and celebrations honoring Irish heritage.
Exploring St. Patrick's Day Alternatives in Kansas City
Aydan Stigler and Grace BeshoreMarch 14, 2024

  The annual St. Patrick's Day celebration is just around the corner, and with celebration comes large crowds.    The annual city parade...

Visit the City Market to explore local vendors.
Smart Saving Strategies for a Wallet-Friendly Spring Break
Emily Wheeler, Staff Writer • March 14, 2024

  UMKC students are ready for the upcoming week-long spring break, but are their wallets?   From travel adventures to staycations, spring...

Earth Mother by Sheron Smith
Her Art/Their Art Explores the Female Experience in the 21st Century
Elyse Bredfeldt, Staff Writer • March 12, 2024

  Her Art/Their Art is a collection that aims to answer the question: “What does it mean to identify, live, navigate, or be perceived by society...

Nina Simone: Four Women” playbook.
The KC Rep’s “Nina Simone: Four Women” is both timeless and poignant.
Maisy Blanton, Staff Writer • March 5, 2024

  The Kansas City Repertory Theater (KCRep) recently performed “Nina Simone: Four Women.” The show follows musician Nina Simone as she...

Around 1 million people were estimated to be in attendance at the parade.
One Dead, Several Injured During Chiefs Parade
Zach Gunter and Jazlyn SummersFebruary 14, 2024

Update:   As of 2:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, the number of those injured at the Union Station shooting after the Chiefs Super Bowl parade...

Celebrating Women in STEM: Sharon McDougle

Evans, Ethan (UMKC-Student)

Each year in the United States, Veterans Day is celebrated on Nov. 11 to honor those who served in the United States Armed Forces. Celebrated worldwide, the date marks the end of World War I. Many patriotic women in STEM have served our country and used their skills to defend our nation’s interests, including Air Force veteran Sharon McDougle.

McDougle grew up in Moss Point, Mississippi. After high school, she enlisted with the U.S. Air Force in 1982. She was stationed at Beale Air Force Base in California, but traveled around the world on assignment to places like Greece, Japan, Korea and England. She served as an aerospace physiology specialist, working to train reconnaissance aircraft pilots for the SR-71 and U-2/TR-1 high-altitude surveillance aircraft. She also fitted crew members for pressure suits, harnesses and safety equipment. During her seven years of service, she was awarded several honors, including the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and Airman of the Month.

In 1990, McDougle was honorably discharged from the Air Force. She accepted a position as a suit technician in Boeing’s Space Shuttle Crew Escape Equipment (CEE) Department, becoming the first African American and second woman in the CEE. After the Challenger Disaster in 1986, NASA was looking for pressure suits to better protect their astronauts. McDougle’s work with safety equipment for the Air Force made her an excellent addition to the team. The next year, she was assigned to mission STS-37 with the Space Shuttle Atlantis. In 1992, she suited up the great Dr. Mae Jemison for mission STS-47 aboard the Endeavor.

In 1994, McDougle was promoted, becoming the first woman and first African American crew chief in the CEE. She lead the first and only all-female suit tech crew for mission STS-78 on the Space Shuttle Columbia. She was assigned to around 20 missions in her 14 years as a suit tech. She broke yet another glass ceiling in 2004 by becoming the first woman and first African American CEE Manager. She held that position until the Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011 and retired from the CEE in 2012.

McDougle served our country for nearly 30 years, dedicating seven years to the Air Force and 22 years to the Space Shuttle program. She was awarded NASA’s “Silver Snoopy” Award—

a small Snoopy-shaped pin that has flown in space—for her service. She was also awarded the Women of Color in Flight Award by Jemison herself. The next time you see an astronaut in an orange spacesuit, think of Sharon McDougle: the veteran who spent a lifetime keeping the Final Frontier’s explorers safe.

Are you interested in empowering women in the STEM fields? The Women in Science (Wi-Sci) group wants you! Email President Emily Larner ([email protected]) for more information.

[email protected]

View Comments (1)
Donate to Roo News

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Missouri - Kansas City. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Roo News

Comments (1)

All Roo News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • S

    Sharon McDougleDec 18, 2019 at 8:32 am

    I love this! Thank you Madalyn Weston for featuring me in your newspaper. This has made my day! Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!! Sharon McDougle