Muslim Women of NASA: Tahani Amer Taking on the Lead

 Growing up in the suburbs of Cairo and watching her father fix his car’s engine, little Tahani Amer discovered her unwavering passion for engineering.

Getting married at the age of 17 and still chasing her dreams with all the growing responsibility — even passing her first advanced calculus class with an “A” without being acquainted with English, this Muslim woman has been defying the odds since the second she stepped into the U.S. With her three simple yet empowering principles, Amer has become one of the leading Muslim women that are laying a solid foundation for many Muslim girls to unapologetically break into STEM and chase their dreams.

As we head into Muslim Women’s Day, we sat with Amer to talk about her journey as one of the Muslim women of NASA: how she got there, what inspired her to pursue her career path, and how she currently navigates her life as the Program Executive for the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.

Muslim Girl: How did you end up working at NASA?

Tahani Amer: NASA is my dream job. I have been working at NASA for over 30 years. I started when I was an undergraduate at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. I collaborated with NASA during my senior research project. It was a great opportunity and an exciting experience to work with the best talent in the world to advance aeronautics and technology.

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium supported my entry into NASA programs by providing grants to excelling women engineers and scientists. I was the first woman to be selected for the program. After I successfully completed my project and graduated, I applied for a job at NASA.


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Image Credit: “Photo Courtesy of Tahani Amer” | “Tahani Amer / SWOT Satellite in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) cleanroom”

Wisconsin Space Grant Leads First Nations Launch

The NASA First Nations Launch (FNL) competition, an Artemis Student Challenge, offers students from Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Native American Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTIs), and schools with American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) chapters the opportunity to demonstrate engineering and design skills through high-powered rocketry.


Read the full article on here.


Author Credit: Danielle Sempsrott

Image Credit:

Wyoming Space Grant Supports Central Wyoming College Student Trip to Mount Everest

Throwback Thursday to a Spring 2022 Student Research Trip!


JACKSON, Wyo. — Central Wyoming College is sending indigenous students to Mount Everest base camp to conduct climate research.

Students, Jada Antelope, Aidan Darissa Hereford, Red Thunder Spoonhunter,
Antoine Day, and one non-Indigenous student Ryan Town, along with professor Jacki Klancher set off on their trip today, April 26.


Read the full Buckrail article online here.

Author Credit: Lindsay Vallen

Image Credit: Photos used in design from Central Wyoming College

JWST: How the son of sharecroppers helped send the world’s most powerful telescope to space

“NASA released the first batch of images from the James Webb telescope this week, wowing the world with never-before-seen views of ancient and distant galaxies.

The approximately $10 billion telescope was decades in the making, a partnership with the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency that involved some 20,000 collaborators across 29 countries and 14 U.S. states. It finally launched in December 2021 after a long string of setbacks and delays that led some astronomers to fear it might never get off the ground.”


Read the full article on NPR News here.


Author Credit: Rachel Treisman

Image Credit: NASA via Getty Images

NASA’s Webb Reveals Cosmic Cliffs, Glittering Landscape of Star Birth

This landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth.

Called the Cosmic Cliffs, Webb’s seemingly three-dimensional picture looks like craggy mountains on a moonlit evening. In reality, it is the edge of the giant, gaseous cavity within NGC 3324, and the tallest “peaks” in this image are about 7 light-years high. The cavernous area has been carved from the nebula by the intense ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds from extremely massive, hot, young stars located in the center of the bubble, above the area shown in this image.


Read the full NASA article online here.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

Editor: Rob Garner

ND Space Grant Student – Michaela Neal – Named ND Student Employee of the Year

The Office of Human Resources & Payroll Services is pleased to recognize Michaela L. Neal, a STEM Ambassador for the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium (NDSGC), as the 2022 Student Employee of the Year.

This recognition highlights the outstanding students employed part-time at UND. Michaela was selected as this year’s honoree, out of a total of eighteen nominations, by the Student Employee of the Year Committee. Michaela was recognized at the university level and was also chosen as the North Dakota Student Employee of the year by the Midwest Association of Student Employment Administrators (MASEA). MASEA selected Michaela as one of the regional runners-up, and her nomination was reviewed and recognized on the national level.


Read the full story here.


Image Credit: M. Neal

John Mather Nobel Scholars Program

The John Mather Nobel Scholarship Program was established in 2008 by the John and Jane Mather Foundation for Science and the Arts. The program is open to current NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center based undergraduate and graduate student interns. Each year the program awards travel allowances towards the cost of presenting research papers at professional conferences. Applicants must have demonstrated high academic achievement, have a strong interest in space and Goddard Space Flight Center, be a rising undergraduate junior, senior or graduate student, and be currently holding a Goddard-based research internship.

Selected students will be recognized as John Mather Nobel Scholars and receive a $3,000 travel allowance towards the cost of presenting research papers at professional conferences. Recipients will meet with Dr John C Mather, Senior Astrophysicist and Goddard Fellow and Nobel Prize recipient, and other distinguished individuals.

NC Space Education Ambassador, Joann Blumenfeld Is Fighting to Get Kids With Disabilities Into High-Paying STEM Careers

“Joann Blumenfeld wants to help her high-school students learn the basics of science and math, but she also wants to set them up for long-term success. “I can teach them all the science I want,” says Blumenfeld, a special-education teacher in Raleigh, N.C. “But if I don’t set them up with workforce readiness skills, I’m not really helping them totally.”

There are more than 7 million students with disabilities enrolled in K-12 public schools across the country. But just 19% of adults with disabilities in the U.S. are employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 80% of people with disabilities aren’t in the labor force, compared to about 30% of people without disabilities — a statistic that startled Blumenfeld when she first learned it.”


Read the full article here.

Learn more about the NC Space Education Ambassadors Program here.


Author credit: Katie Reilly

Image Credit: Courtesy Photo

NASA’s New Solar Sail Could Soon Navigate in Space

A project to develop an innovative solar sail has advanced to the final leg of a NASA research program. Phase three of the Innovative Advanced Concepts program (NIAC) will allow researchers to continue exploring and developing a diffractive solar sail for two years with a funding award of $2 million, reports George Dvorsky for Gizmodo. This award could push the solar sail concept, a long-simmering field of research for space exploration only used a handful of times, towards far wider use.

Read the full article on here.

Author: Elizabeth Gamillo

Image Credit: MacKenzi Martin

First Dream Chaser vehicle takes shape

Sierra Space says it is making good progress on its first Dream Chaser spaceplane as the company looks ahead to versions of the vehicle that can carry crews and perform national security missions.

The company provided SpaceNews with images of the first Dream Chaser, named Tenacity, being assembled at its Colorado headquarters. The vehicle’s structure is now largely complete, but there is still more work to install its thermal protection system and other components.


Read full article here.

Author Credit: Jeff Foust, Space News

Image Credit: Sierra Space