Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar was elected to the Board of Trustees of The Aerospace Corporation on March 7, 2013. She is the M. D. Anderson Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Houston, in Houston, Texas. She also serves as the director of the university’s STEM Center.
In her early career, Dunbar worked for Rockwell International Space Division, building the space shuttle Columbia. She then entered NASA service. At NASA she was a flight controller before being selected as a mission specialist astronaut, where she became a veteran of five space shuttle flights. Dunbar has logged more than 50 days in space. She served as the payload commander on two flights, including the first space shuttle docking mission to the Russian space station Mir.
In addition to her flight career, she held management positions and was a member of the Senior Executive Service. Her service included associate director of technology integration and risk management for the Space Life Sciences Directorate; assistant JSC director of university research; deputy director of flight crew operations; and NASA headquarters deputy associate administrator for the Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications (OLMSA).
After retiring from NASA in 2005, she became president and CEO of The Seattle Museum of Flight and later the director of higher education and STEM for The Boeing Company. After leaving NASA, Dunbar consulted in aerospace and STEM education as the president of Dunbar International LLC and is an internationally known public speaker.
She is a member of the American Ceramic Society (Fellow) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA Fellow). She has been awarded the NASA Space Flight Medal, the NASA Exceptional Leadership Medal, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. Dunbar was inducted into the Royal Society of Edinburgh and in 2002 was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. She was selected into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2013.
Dunbar holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ceramic engineering from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in mechanical/biomedical engineering from the University of Houston.