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PUBLISHED: December 3, 2015

When Dava J. Newman arrived on the Notre Dame campus a decade after the University first admitted women, she thought, “It is great to be a woman in engineering.” Given her work in aerospace biomedical engineering: biomechanics, control, and dynamics; human factors; engineering systems and design; and space policy ... it still is.

Newman, the Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics and Engineering Systems and the Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has served as director for MIT’s Technology and Policy Program and led the MIT Portugal Program, an alliance between Portuguese public and private organizations. But most recently she served as NASA's Deputy Administrator (May 2015-Jan. 2017), helping oversee the agency’s legislative, intergovernmental, mission support, and International Space Station programs.

She also developed a new space suit design, is the author of Interactive Aerospace Engineering and Design, an introductory engineering textbook, and has published more than 200 papers in journals and refereed conferences.

In addition to the combination of liberal arts with technical courses she found at Notre Dame, she was a member of the women’s varsity basketball team and coached high school girls’ basketball at a local school during her last two years at the University. She has also interacted with K-12 students as a NASA Solar System Ambassador, an honor she received as part of the Galatea Odyssey Mission, an international outreach educational effort. Always sharing what she has learned with students, Newman is poised to continue her valuable contributions to aerospace engineering and exploration of the “final frontier.”

Newman graduated in 1986 from the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering.

Categories:  Alumnae

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