The First Black Woman to Board Commercial Flight to Space Secures Nearly $1B Contract

by Xara Aziz

A Bahamian-American aerospace engineer is breaking new ground (or air, that is) after becoming the first Black woman to secure an almost $1 billion contract to scale up STEMBoard, an award-winning firm designed to provide premier advisory services to federal and commercial organizations.

Aisha Bowe secured the $947-million-dollar contract through the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to Exacta Solutions, which will handle “lifecycle acquisition management, strategic business management, and strategic financial management for NGA” according to a report in AfroTech.

Bowe, a former rocket scientist and entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of STEMBoard, which she created with a “mission to drive innovation and provide exceptional,” according to its website. “Our continuous pursuit of excellence is fueled by our commitment to delivering cutting-edge technology, strategic expertise, and unwavering integrity. With a focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is creating smart systems and solutions for both large-scale U.S. federal and private sector clients.”

Formerly at NASA, Bowe says a large part of her company is to level the playing field for Black and Brown children interested in joining the field of STEM.

“I am fully dedicated to hands-on involvement,” she told Black Enterprise. “It’s crucial for me to be present advocating for Black boys and girls, those of Caribbean heritage, and women business owners to demonstrate our presence in these fields. We can build multimillion-dollar companies, secure billion-dollar contracts, create educational games adopted by schools and retailers, and be acknowledged alongside others, enjoying equal opportunities.”

She further recalled how her career came out of a passion to do something bigger than herself.

“In high school, I encountered a counselor who suggested I pursue cosmetology,” she recalled. “But deep down, I knew I wanted something more for myself. It was during my time at Washtenaw Community College where I discovered my passion for math and science. Determined to chase my dreams, I transferred to the University of Michigan, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s degree in space systems engineering. These achievements opened the doors to an incredible chapter in my life as I embarked on a career as a rocket scientist at NASA. I realized that the only limitations you have in life are those you place yourself.” 

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