Tahani Amer

Today’s WiSE Wednesday honoree is out to show that faith and science can coexist. Aerospace engineer Tahani Amer was raised in Cairo, Egypt and moved to the US when she was 17. Despite not being able to speak a word of English, she aced her first calculus class, going on to earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, and a doctoral in engineering from Old Dominion University in Virginia. She began working at NASA in 1992, when she was only a senior in college. One of her first projects there was the Computational Fluid Dynamics Project (CFD) using computer modeling to stimulate the extreme conditions encountered by spacecraft. She later worked on wind tunnel experiments to test how materials would respond in high pressure environments. As part of this work, she developed and patented a system to measure how thin films conduct heat. Still at NASA after close to 25 years, she currently works on a program that evaluates other NASA programs. Faith and science are both important to her, as reflected by how she volunteers her time outside of work. In 2014, NASA awarded her its Public Services award for her efforts to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers in science including participating in “Day of Caring”, Engineering Week, the Speakers Bureau, Diversity Day, and after school science clubs. She is also active in helping the public understand Islam, frequently invited to speak about the topic. Amer lives her life by 3 principles: “Please God and you will please all. Education is the key to opportunity. Serve others with compassion and kindness.” These principles have certainly served her well so far!

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