The Sky’s Not the Limit: My Journey into Space Exploration and STEM
MiMi Aung will share her personal journey as a space engineer—from her start as an electrical engineer in the NASA Deep Space Network to her role leading the team that built and deployed the Mars Helicopter, Ingenuity: the first-ever controlled flight on another planet.
She will describe her constant pursuit of “What’s next?” throughout her STEM career, including her current efforts in private industry to develop and launch a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit to increase broadband access around the world, a mission in which she believes deeply.
MiMi Aung is director of technical program management for Amazon’s Project Kuiper, which seeks to provide reliable and affordable broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world through a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites. Prior to joining Amazon, Aung was the project manager of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), leading the team through the very first flights on Mars. Aung grew up in three different countries with formative years in Myanmar and Malaysia, and at age 16 traveled alone to the United States to further her education. She holds BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and spent more than three decades at JPL working on signal processing, communications, and novel spacecraft systems for deep space exploration. Aung was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2021.
Amy Villeneuve, former vice president, Amazon Robotics; former COO and president, Kiva Systems; startup board director
The Kim and Judy Davis Dean’s Lecture Series was established through the generosity of Kim G. Davis AB ’76, MBA ’78, and Judith N. Davis, longtime friends and champions of Harvard Radcliffe Institute. This annual lecture series invites leading figures from across the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences to share their expertise, ideas, and diverse perspectives with the Harvard community and the broader public.