UW-Parkside Graduate to put First Woman and Person of Color on the Moon

Published: December 15, 2023
By: Kane Communications

Official NASA PhotoLinda Hautzinger-Ham, a proud UW-Parkside alumna and visionary leader at NASA, unveiled plans for the Artemis program at the annual College of Natural and Health Sciences alumni event in October. This ambitious initiative aims to put the first woman and person of color on the Moon by 2025, marking a historic milestone for space exploration.

Ham, who graduated in 1982 with a degree in Mathematics and Applied Science, currently serves as the Human Landing System Government Task Agreement Integrator at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. She credits Parkside for fueling her passion for science which laid the foundation for her journey to NASA.

Before embarking on her renowned career at NASA, Ham had never traveled outside Wisconsin or Illinois, let alone in an airplane, but that didn’t deter her from pursuing her dreams. She made history by becoming NASA's first female Propulsion Officer in Mission Control, breaking barriers and advancing female leadership at NASA.

“The unwavering support and cutting-edge education I received was instrumental in shaping my career as a visionary leader at NASA. At Parkside, the sky is never the limit, but merely a starting point of endless possibilities," Ham shared.

Linda HamHam's list of accolades also include:

● First female Section Head in the Systems Division

● First and only female Manager of Space Shuttle Program Integration

● First and only Space Shuttle Program Launch Integration Manager

● First female Flight Director, leading Mission Control for 14 Space Shuttle missions

Although the Artemis III mission is facing delays due to various challenges with flight tests, the development of the human landing system, the creation of space suits and the explosion of Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket, Ham remains undeterred in her pursuit to put diverse individuals on the moon. The mission is expected to be delayed until 2027, but Ham's resilience and leadership continue to drive the mission forward.

Linda Ham"Diverse teams are more innovative and creative, solving problems from different perspectives. I look forward to the day where color and gender diversity in science, technology, engineering and math roles is so commonplace, it is no longer noteworthy,” Ham stated.

As Linda Ham and her dedicated team strive relentlessly to propel the Artemis missions forward, the global audience eagerly awaits, understanding its pivotal role in shaping the future of space exploration—an achievement that reflects the remarkable journey of a UW-Parkside graduate contributing to humanity's endeavor to put people back on the moon.


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