Khadija Abousalama

  • Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2019

  • George Washington University, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, ‘19

  • Host Institution: Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems

  • Mentor: Rebecca Spyke Keiser

Khadija is finishing her last year at George Washington University majoring in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. As a child, reading was her passion, when she was 14 years old she stumbled on a special edition of a scientific magazine about space exploration. Living in a small town in Morocco made it hard to believe that space exploration was a thing that could happen or exist! By then she dreamed to meet those researchers and scientists one day, as she excelled at scientific subjects at school her dream muted to be an astronaut in the future! Growing up in a developing country made her understand that dreams are universal, but opportunity is not! The unaccountable imagination she gained reading books came back to save her dream from being dragged into darkness, instead of talking about it and getting derided by her surrounding, she imagined herself living it. Perhaps hard work and her ‘Get Ready’ plan can stronger than nature and fate.

Prior to getting a full scholarship to finish her education at George Washington University, Khadija earned an associates degree in general engineering, during which time she enjoyed tutoring Mathematics and University Physics to hundreds of students. As a recently naturalized US citizen and a new mother, Khadija has faced a number of unique challenges along her path to realizing not only her personal dream, but now the American Dream for her family. Despite the long hours she dedicates to studying, raising her son and supporting a husband. Khadija still prioritizes building community and giving back to others, she volunteers her time encouraging young people and new mothers who are struggling to go back to school.

Last summer, Khadija has conducted research about energy efficiency at LeBlancLab, she is also dedicated to her work with the GW Cube Satellite Mission as part of the NASA Launch initiative where she supports the engineering process and computing team to design a cubeSat to be launched in 2020. Their team of researchers and students hope to demonstrate the 3-axis stabilization capabilities of a micro propulsion thruster. Her research and projects work experience have overlapped with various part time jobs, such as her position as an explainer at the National Air and Space Museum, where her passion for aircraft and spacecraft meets to honor the US history in the development of such technology.

Due to her life circumstances, her ability to adjust to different changing environment helped her achieve her dream. She wants to contribute to the ongoing work developing new solutions to enhance the astronauts’ human body’s performance through the various sequences of spaceflight. Khadija plans her graduate degree to be focused around the study of cardiovascular changes of astronauts during space missions.

Next summer, As a Brooke Owens Fellow, Khadija will work among the propulsion staff at Northrop Grumman Innovation systems.