June 6, 2023

6th-Ever Black Woman To Go To Space Secures $947M Government Contract

STEMBoard’s joint venture, Exacta Solutions, has been awarded a $947 million contract designed to provide support to National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s total lifecycle acquisition management, strategic financial management and strategic business management activities.  

Founded by former NASA rocket scientist Aisha Bowe, STEMBoard is an award-winning DC-based tech powerhouse specializing in professional advisory services for elite organizations in the US government.

“This remarkable achievement is a testament to the innovative spirit, expertise, and dedication of our team at STEMBoard, as well as the outstanding capabilities of our esteemed partners,” Bowe commented on the announcement.

Over the next five years, STEMBoard will compete with Credence Dynamo Solutions, Compass Incorporated, Innovate Now, and Logic Gate, for eight individual task orders worth $947 million.

From community college to NASA and beyond

At a very young age, Bowe developed a deep love for all things science fiction and math. After being advised to study cosmetology in high school, Bowe decided to venture down a different path and studied mathematics at Washtenaw Community College.

“From a young age, I thought there was no way I could go to a four-year university or do anything ambitious — but I found out that all those things just weren’t true,” Bowe told InsideHook. “I went from being a high school student to a community college student to a graduate of [the University of] Michigan aerospace — which is one of the best programs in the nation — to work at NASA for six years.”

At NASA, Bowe worked as a mission and aerospace engineer, specializing in small spacecraft and optimizing fuel consumption within automated systems.

In 2013, she went on to found STEMBoard and in 2022, which has since been recognized by Inc. 5000 as one of the fastest-growing companies in America.

In 2022, Bowe raised $1.6 million for her next venture, LINGO, a self-paced coding kit for learning technical concepts at home, joining the small group of Black women to have raised over $1 million in VC funding. With a mission to bridge the digital divide, LINGO has empowered over 5,000 students in 10 countries, including partnerships with tech giants like Microsoft and collaborations with nonprofits, HBCUs, and federal organizations.

Breaking Boundaries in Space

Aisha Bowe’s achievements extend beyond the confines of Earth. She has been confirmed as the first Black woman to fly with Jeff Bezos’ private spaceflight company, Blue Origin, aboard the New Shepard rocket. Crossing the internationally recognized boundary of space, known as the Kármán line, Aisha will join an exclusive group of only six Black women in history to accomplish this feat.

Aisha Bowe’s success is not just measured by her personal accomplishments but also by her commitment to empowering the next generation.

Read: Meet The Black Woman Going To Space With Bezos’ Blue Origin

“Being at NASA, I looked around and I said, I have a role to play here,” she told InsideHook. “My role is to challenge people internally — how they view young individuals, young engineers, and then also to go out and evangelize.”

“Newsflash — engineers? We’re hot and sexy. We have fashion,” she added. “We’re not just trolls that live under the bridge somewhere. There’s a whole legion of women who are ridiculously fabulous, super smart and running some of the best companies and organizations on Earth. That’s what we’re going to be about.”

This article was updated on June 9, 2023 to correct the spelling of Aisha Bowe’s name.

Samara Linton

Community Manager at POCIT | Co-editor of The Colour of Madness: Mental Health and Race in Technicolour (2022), and co-author of Diane Abbott: The Authorised Biography (2020)