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JSC Deputy Director Inducted into Clemson Academy


Isidro Reyna |
May 2, 2019

NASA Johnson Space Center Deputy Director Vanessa Wyche was inducted into the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists at Clemson University on April 25 in her native South Carolina.

Wyche, who earned both a Bachelor of Science in ceramic engineering and a Master of Science in bioengineering from Clemson, was inducted alongside fellow alumni I.V. Hall and Denise Rutledge Simmons for major contributions to their professions and for bringing significant distinction to the college and university.  

“I’m am humbled and deeply honored to be recognized by my alma mater,” said Wyche. “My studies at Clemson prepared me for a distinguished career at NASA, and have allowed me to assist in leading the home of human spaceflight as we work to return our astronauts to the Moon and on to Mars.” 

Fewer than 0.2 percent of Clemson University alumni are inducted to the academy, the college’s highest honor.

“Each of today’s honorees has an individual story to tell,” said College Dean Anand Gramopadhye, Ph.D., during a ceremony held at the university’s Memorial Stadium. “More importantly, they all serve as inspirational motivators.” 

Wyche assists in leading an organization of nearly 10,000 civil service and contractor employees in Houston — including those at White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico — and also assists with a broad range of human spaceflight activities. 

Before joining Johnson in 1989, Wyche worked for the Food and Drug Administration in Washington, D.C. Throughout her career with NASA, she has held several key leadership positions: in the Space Shuttle Program as a flight manager; in the Constellation Program as director of Operations and Test Integration; as acting director for the Human Exploration Development Support Directorate; as associate director of the Exploration Integration and Science Directorate; and assistant center director at Johnson. 

A strong supporter of innovation and inclusion (I&I) at the center, Wyche has served as a member of Johnson’s I&I Council and co-executive sponsor of “Emerge,” an employee resource group for early-career employees. She advocates mentoring and is a passionate promoter of science, technology, engineer and math (STEM), leading efforts to oversee an annual science fair at an underserved elementary school and supporting numerous STEM-outreach activities via her affiliations with The Links, Incorporated, Boy Scouts of America and Jack and Jill of America. 

She has received numerous honors; notably, two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, two NASA Achievement Medals, a JSC Innovation Award, 2014 Women at NASA awardee, a national “2016 Women Worth Watching” honoree by Profiles in Diversity Journal, and recognized as a 2017 “Inspiring Woman from South Carolina” by Women in Philanthropy and Leadership at Coastal Carolina University.

NASA Johnson Space Center Deputy Director Vanessa Wyche's image is projected over Frank Howard Field, a fitting welcome for the Clemson University alum.

JSC Deputy Director Vanessa Wyche (center, foreground) was inducted into the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists at Clemson University on April 25.
JSC Deputy Director Vanessa Wyche (center, foreground) was inducted into the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists at Clemson University on April 25.
Wyche, left, is the recipient of Clemson University's highest honor, bestowed to fewer that 0.2 percent of the school's alumni.
Wyche, left, is the recipient of Clemson University's highest honor, bestowed to fewer that 0.2 percent of the school's alumni.