About The Washington Award

Each year during Engineers Week the prestigious Washington Award is conferred upon an engineer(s) whose professional attainments have preeminently advanced the welfare of human kind. Presentation of the award is made at a joint banquet of the members and guests of the Western Society of Engineers; the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers; American Society of Civil Engineers; American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers; National Society of Professional Engineers; and the American Nuclear Society.

Washington Award Discover Engineers Week February 21-26, 2016

The Future Young Engineers

In addition to the presentation of the Washington Award, nearly 100 pre-college students will be recognized for their success in regional STEM competitions.

Banquet Info

2016 Chicagoland Engineering Awards Benefit


February 26, 2016


Hilton Chicago – 720 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago

Featuring the 103rd presentation of the Washington Award to ... Dr. Aprille Joy Ericsson


2016 Awards Dinner Brochure

Award Recipient of 2016

Dr. Aprille Joy Ericsson

Dr. Aprille Joy Ericsson

Dr. Aprille Joy Ericsson, is the former Deputy to the Chief Technologist for the Applied Engineering & Technology Directorate at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Her primary focus as a Technologist has been Advanced Manufacturing, Applied Nanotechnology, miniaturization of Technology for CubeSat and SmallSat space platforms. Currently, Dr. Ericsson serves as the NASA GSFC Program Manager for Small Business Innovative Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Research (SBIR/STTR). This SBA funded program enables small businesses and small businesses collaborating with universities, respectively, to compete for opportunities to solve selected R&D challenges faced by various government agencies within the United States. NASA's SBIR/STTR programs are designed to foster entrepreneurial innovations while simultaneously solving critical NASA R&D challenges.

She was born in Brooklyn, NY, educated in the NYC public schools, and later in Cambridge, Ma. She received her B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at the MIT. She received her Masters of Engineering and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Howard University (HU) with an Aerospace option. She has been a Guest researcher at Harvard/Radcliffe University.

The majority of Dr. Ericsson's 25+ years engineering career has been at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in the Engineering Directorate. Initially, she worked in the Guidance Navigation & Control discipline conducting spacecraft simulations and analysis to predict their dynamic behavior during flight and to determine the best spacecraft attitude and structural vibration control methods. Dr. Ericsson has also worked at NASA HQs as a Program Executive for the Earth Science Enterprise and a Resource Manager for the Space Science Enterprise. For 10 years, she has been Instrument Project Manager (IM) for various instruments which include: the Near-Infrared Spectrograph on the James Webb Space Telescope, the Project Engineer for the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter which launched April 2009, on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. For 3.5 years she served as the Deputy Instrument Project Manager for ICESat-2's sole instrument the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS), a $480M lidar instrument that will continue the important observations of ice-sheet elevation change, sea-ice freeboard, and vegetation canopy height begun by ICESat(-I) in 2003.

Dr. Ericsson serves on numerous boards, and in community leadership positions. Currently, she serves on the MIT Industry Advisory Council on Minority Education and the National Academy of Engineering Board on Higher Education and Workforce. Recently, she served as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the HU Public Charter Middle School of Mathematics and Science and HU Trustee. She has been recognized as an outstanding technical leader, and above all else a coach, mentor, and friend to young people of all ages across the nation.

Dr. Ericsson has enjoyed playing competitive softball, flag football, basketball, and enjoys drawing, cycling, and skiing. Currently, she coaches T-ball in the DC Banneker League. Her daughter, Arielle Joy Ericsson-White (age 6years) plays T-ball and attends Public Elementary School in Washington, DC.

She is proud to be the first (African American) female to receive a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from HU; the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, the Aerospace option from HU; and the first African American female to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering at NASA GSFC.