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2022 Bessie Coleman Women in Aerospace Conference

2022 Conference Speakers

Featured Speaker: Gigi Coleman - Niece of Bessie Coleman

Gigi Coleman is the great niece of Bessie Coleman. Gigi is passionate in her endeavors to inform the world about Bessie’s achievements in the field of aviation. She portrays the story of Bessie to challenge the minds of the young and old and encourage individuals to achieve their dreams. Ms. Coleman also designed an aviation program 501(c)3 Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars. Its mission is to expose disadvantaged youth to career opportunities in the field of aviation. The program is designed to enhance self-esteem, multicultural awareness, preparation for the world of work, and support educational and STEM programs through hands-on activities, speakers, and field trips. Students are exposed to careers in aviation that they may not have previously considered. The program is affiliated with After School Matters at Gwendolyn Brooks Preparatory High School, and teaches students about the history of aviation, operating a flight simulator, flying drones, obtaining drone certification, and actually flying airplanes. In 2013, the program’s pilot year, it was selected as the number one program in the southern region of Chicago to appear at the citywide showcase at the Harris Theater. The program has partnered with Operation Push Excel STEM Program for the last three summers and with the Archdiocese of Chicago at St. Columbus Church.

Speaker: Lily Arcusa - Air Force

Ms. Lily Arcusa is the Deputy Program Executive Officer for the Air Force Presidential & Executive Airlift Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. She is the principal advisor to the Program Executive Officer (PEO) responsible for an executive fleet that includes Air Force One. Lily graduated from the University of Michigan with a BSE in Aerospace Engineering. She began her Air Force career as a Propulsion Engineer responsible for upgrading the C-17 thrust reversers. She moved to the F-22 office where she investigated hypoxia as the Lead Life Support Systems Engineer. While there, she earned her MS in Engineering Management from the University of Dayton. In her next position as KC-46 Lead Flight Systems Engineer, she managed the certification test program. When she was promoted to F-35 Chief Flight Systems Engineer, she delivered fuel tank inerting, longer-lasting tires, and aerial refueling clearances for Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. She was the first Chief Technology Officer for the new Rapid Sustainment Office where she established the engineering team that brought Industry 4.0 technologies to maintainers. Lily has three daughters, a puggle named Bella, and an overgrown vegetable garden. She loves backpacking and ballroom dancing in her spare time.

Speaker: Sydney Hamilton - Boeing

Space and Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) – 2021 Promise Award Winner, Sydney Hamilton, has been featured on CBS’ Mission Unstoppable, in Marie Claire Magazine, at the Smithsonian with a life-size 3D printed statue, and across The Boeing Company for her innovative contributions to the aerospace industry. She is an Aerospace Engineer and Aerospace Structures Stress Manager at Boeing in Long Beach, CA. Sydney and her incredible team of analysts support multiple programs in both space and commercial aircraft. In June 2022, Sydney was contracted by Uplift Aerospace to train as a commercial astronaut as the Space+5 Astronaut Class. The five talented individuals are the first Web3 Astronaut Class. Sydney hopes that with this opportunity she can expose more young girls to space and help increase exposure and access to space. Sydney brings out her passion for STEM education through her American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) IF/THEN Ambassadorship and her Board Presidency at the non-profit organization Dramatic Results. Sydney received dual degrees in Mathematics and Aerospace Engineering from Spelman College and the University of Michigan, respectively. Outside of work, Sydney can be found scuba diving, salsa dancing, or cooking (and especially eating) new cuisines with friends.

Speaker: Jasmine LeFlore - Greater than Tech & Raytheon Technologies

Recognized as one of the top 50 Women of Influence in Technology by San Diego Business journal, Jasmine LeFlore is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Greater Than Tech, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating the next generation of innovative leaders in tech by exposing girls from untapped communities to novel educational enrichment programs at the intersection of STEM and business. She also works as a Principal Business Development Engineer at Raytheon Technologies, working on new business pursuits including technology inorganic growth, competitive assessment and strategy. She previously worked as a chief of staff for the vice president of engineering on key business transformation initiatives and led certification campaigns for aircraft components. LeFlore received her BSE in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, her MSE in Interdisciplinary Engineering (with a Systems Engineering concentration) from Purdue University, and her MBA from Indiana University. LeFlore recently received the San Diego County Engineering council 2022 Outstanding Engineering Service Award and is a RIDE San Diego Gen 7 Fellow. She was born and brought up in Flint, MI.


"Business in Aerospace"

Ashley Grafstrom - Northrop Grumman Space Systems

Trudy Kortes - NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate

Jasmine LeFlore - Greater than Tech & Raytheon Technologies

Dr. Katherine Herrick - Raytheon Intelligence and Space

Stephanie Gowell - Meta Orbital Effects