StFX is looking forward to welcoming Dr. Renee Horton of NASA to campus next week to dialogue with physics students and to deliver a public address.
Dr. Horton’s visit is hosted by the StFX Physics Department, in cooperation with the offices of the StFX Human Rights and Equity Advisor and the Advisor for Students of African Descent. Her visit is also part of events as StFX celebrates Black History Month.
Dr. Horton, who is the lead metallics and weld engineer for NASA’s Space Launch System at the Michoud Assembly Facility, will deliver a talk “Intersection between talent and passion” aimed at a general audience on the subjects of gender, disability, race and science. The event takes place Thursday, Feb. 25 at 5:15 p.m. in Nicholson Hall 151
The next day, she will give a physics department colloquium talk entitled “Friction Stir Welding and NASA” for students and faculty.
Dr. Horton currently works for NASA Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans, LA as the lead Space Launch System (SLS) Core Stage Metallic and Weld Engineer. She holds a PhD in materials science with a concentration in physics from the University of Alabama and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana State University. She was the first African American to receive her degree in material science from the University of Alabama in 2011.
In addition to overseeing a crucial aspect to NASA's journey to Mars, Dr. Horton has a long list of accolades including the NASA Space Flight Awareness Award, three separate Group Achievement NASA Awards, and the Black Engineer of the Year Trailblazer Award.
This PhD-carrying successful NASA scientist didn't always see herself as someone who could achieve so much. Growing up, she had a hearing impairment that went undiagnosed until she was 17 years old. Her hearing became such an obstacle that she decided to drop out of college, where she was pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. She made the decision to instead, focus on starting a family. However, after her third child, she realized that she needed to return to college to pursue a passion that she had since she was young - science.