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50 for 50: Dr. Powtawche Valerino

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Dr. Powtawche Valerino

Dr. Powtawche Valerino

Dr. Valerino (Mississippi Choctaw) works in the Guidance, Navigation, and Mission Analysis Branch at the NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center where she supports the guidance subsystem for NASA’s Space Launch System program and participates in mission analysis and design activities for Artemis, NASA’s program to return astronauts to the lunar surface.  Her research interests include optimal control, trajectory optimization (low thrust), and flight path control. Additional interests include spacecraft navigation, mission operations, mission planning, propulsion systems, and systems engineering. 

Dr. Valerino has also been a senior guidance engineer for Aerodyne Industries, a flight path control analyst at NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory and worked on the navigation teams for the Cassini-Huygens, Europa Clipper, and Parker Solar Probe missions. 

Dr. Valerino is an associate editor for the Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, recipient of the NAACP of Pasadena’s Education Award, and a former GEM fellow. Her work to encourage underrepresented populations to pursue careers in STEM has included presenting at the PowHERful Summit and for NASA’s from Hidden Figures to Modern Figures initiative. In addition to her Stanford degree, Dr. Valerino has a master’s and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with a specialty in Aero-Astronautics from Rice University.

Valerino's Interview