Sharon McDougle has been around aerospace all her adult life. She spent seven and a half years working with pilots suiting them up in the training process. During all her time in the air force there’s one particular moment that stands out.
“That was the amazing fun thing, was suiting them up in their pressure suits. They flew the reconnaissance aircraft the SR 71 and U2. So they had to wear these pressure suits because they flew at such high speeds and high altitudes. So that’s how I got to NASA,” Sharon said.
From aviation to space flight, Sharon was just getting started in her career. When she first stepped foot in NASA she didn’t even know how much she would pave the way for others behind her in the division.
Sharon said, “I was the first black woman and first black person period in that department.”
Sharon worked with the pressure suits, making sure that if another accident happened the astronauts would have at least one more safety measure.
She suited up several astronauts both during training and right before they took off for space. She eventually worked her way up to crew chief technician and eventually to manager of the department. In all her time with NASA there is one specific astronaut and one specific moment that stands out. “When I suited up Dr. Mae Jemison, the first black woman to go into space. That was the highlight of my career,” said Sharon.
Sharon had a remarkable career, but it’s not the only thing that makes her a remarkable woman. It’s what she does with her free time now that she’s no longer suiting up astronauts. Sharon’s daughter, Dominique McDougle, nominated her because of everything Sharon does outside of work. From volunteering with Unveiled Aspirations, to Classy Living Society, you will find Sharon empowering other women or reading to children.
With a schedule full of volunteer work, you may be asking why? For that Sharon has a good answer,
“It could be you one day. That’s the importance of it to me. That could be you needing that help one day.”
And that’s what makes Sharon a remarkable women.