For International Day for Women & Girls in Science, we want to applaud all the women who have contributed to the STEM fields and provided guidance and inspiration to girls who want to follow them into the world of science. Today we are featuring rocket scientist Amber S. Gell, one of our Rice University Aerospace & Aviation Academy speakers.
Amber S. Gell was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and currently works for Lockheed Martin Space. She has always been extremely interested in space and exploration, especially human spaceflight, which is her ultimate goal. Ms. Gell’s academic background and career experience depicts her active pursuit of that goal. She has worked on various programs for major Aerospace contractors. Ms. Gell is currently part of the Advanced Programs Development team and serves as the Deputy Program Manager for the UK Spaceflight Program as well as manages the Advanced Programs International Portfolio. In prior roles she has been pivotal in designing and building the Orion Spacecraft, NASA’s spacecraft for Deep Space Exploration that will be used to take humans to the Moon, Asteroids, and Mars.
Ms. Gell’s broad range of experience includes her work as a Spacecraft Systems Engineer, designing and developing numerous subsystems for the Orion Spacecraft and other Advanced Programs; and an Experiment Support Scientist, conducting Physiological Research on Astronauts in Microgravity for the International Space Station (ISS) Medical Program. She has contributed her expertise to various areas such as: Space Life Sciences; Bioastronautics, Human Performance in Extreme Environments, Rendezvous, Proximity, and Docking Operations, Landing and Recovery Systems, Engineering Integration, Flight Test, Risk Management, and Leading Proposal efforts. Driven by her passion; she thoroughly enjoys taking on new challenges, approaching them with a great attitude and a willingness to learn. She thrives on performing meaningful work that positively contributes to the overall success of her team.
Ms. Gell splits her time between “Rocket Science,” numerous Education Outreach efforts, Microgravity Research, lifelong learning, and fitness activities. She is an alumnus from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering and a second Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Studies, with minors in Human Factors, Psychology, and Advanced Mathematics. Ms. Gell has also received her Masters of Science Degree in Physiology & Human Performance from the University of Houston – Clear Lake. Her Master’s Thesis on the Use of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) to Predict Deficits in Bilateral / Unilateral Force, Power, and Rate of Force Development was formally published. Other areas of her research include Optimal Crew Selection for Long-Duration Spaceflight focusing on gender, culture, and personality characteristics, in which she contributed academic papers and presented her work at the Human Performance in Extreme Environments Conference; and Exothermic Welding in a Reduced Gravity Environment. Additionally, Ms. Gell has a Masters of Engineering Degree in Systems Engineering, with a Certificate in Space Systems Engineering, from Stevens Institute of Technology. She has also graduated from the University of Houston – Clear Lake, obtaining both a Master’s of Science Degree in Finance and a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) Degree, specializing in International Business. Ms. Gell received the 2013 Women in Space Science Award for her outstanding contributions to the Aerospace Community. In 2016, she also received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from President Obama for her lifelong commitment to STEM Education Outreach.
Outside of work, she is a Wilderness First Responder (WFR), Master Scuba Diver and dancer. Ms. Gell genuinely enjoys helping people recognize their potential and achieve their personal goals in all areas of life. She is especially passionate about participating in Education Outreach Activities that engage the engineers of tomorrow and inspire the bright minds of the future. With her diverse range of background knowledge and experience, she brings an innovative perspective to any subject and is someone people can relate to. Ultimately, Amber plans to join the Astronaut Corps and continue her passion to explore and contribute to discoveries beyond Earth, lifting not only hers, but the entire Human spirit.