March 8, 2017
Kathy Lueders, program manager, Commercial Crew Program. In college, she studied business. “I wanted to work on Wall Street, but then in my senior year I wanted to switch to my roommate’s major, engineering.” After getting married and having kids, she decided to go back to college and earned several degrees in engineering, landing with NASA at the propulsion lab at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico. “I was the second woman at the propulsion lab—I think the first one lasted about a week,” she recalls. At NASA, she feels as if she’s making a difference. “I’ve had the chance to work on the international space station program, and when you work in different countries, you see that women elsewhere don’t always have the benefits that women have in this country. You realize how important it is to be first a woman, and then an engineer, and then somebody working for NASA who can be a role model for not only girls in this country, but girls in the world.”
Lueders graduated from NMSU with her BS (’93) and MS (’99) both in Industrial Engineering.