We had the good fortune of connecting with Sharon McDougle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sharon, what do you want your legacy to be?
I want my legacy to be that I loved my family with everything in me; I always gave back by serving in the community through my volunteer work. Lastly, I’d like my legacy to include my contributions to our nation’s Space Shuttle Program.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve been quite busy with virtual speaking engagements as guest speaker as well as sitting on several panels. I’ve been interviewed and featured in magazines, news and local talk shows, and podcasts. I even got a birthday shout out on The Wendy Williams Show!
I also wrote my first children’s book titled Suit Up for Launch with Shay! The book is about a little girl named Shay learning all about space suit astronauts wear when they launch into space. I’m hoping to have it published this year.
I was very fortunate to have two amazing past careers. I was a trailblazer with the Space Shuttle Program as the first and only Black woman Crew Escape Equipment (CEE) Suit Technician, first Black Crew Chief, and first and only woman and Black manager of that department. I also made history when I suited up the first Black woman to go to space. The CEE department processed and maintained the launch/entry suits worn by the astronauts who flew aboard the space shuttle. We suited up the astronauts for all of their training and for launch. My other career, which prepared me for my space shuttle career, was being an Aerospace Physiology Specialist in the Air Force where I suited up pilots who flew the SR-71 and U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. I also worked with the Hypobaric and Hyperbaric chambers. I achieved all of this through good old hard work, perseverance, and determination.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There’s so much to do in Houston – but, if my best friend was visiting I would definitely take them to Space Center Houston, Houston Axe Throwing, and Smither Park – just to name a few. As for getting our grub on, which is one of my favorite things to do; I’d take them to Agnes and Viola, Pappas Seafood, Gringo’s, Taste Bar & Kitchen. Depending on the time of year and Covid restrictions being over, there are always festivals and other seasonal events going on.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wonderful husband Maronald McDougle deserves the biggest shout out for all the love and support he gives me. He has been my biggest supporter throughout my career and with our beautiful family. I’d like to thank Natasha Lee (That Girl and MYDCT) for an amazing honor at the Make Your Mark symposium and helping me achieve one of my dreams of becoming a children’s book author! I’d also like to thank dear friend Chenica Grant for her love and support and for shouting me out to ShoutOut TX!
Facebook: @sharonmcdouglehiddenfigure; @SuitUpForLaunch
Point & Click Photography; Salty Water Photography