Mamta Nagaraja, Ph.D.
Dr. Mamta Patel Nagaraja currently works at NASA, managing the Agency-wide Women@NASA program, training astronauts, and working as a flight controller in the Mission Control Center. As part of her efforts, Dr. Nagaraja founded the NASA GIRLS and BOYS programs, which are virtual mentoring opportunities for middle school students. Dr. Nagaraja has also trained astronauts who flew aboard the U.S. Space Shuttle and fly aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Further, she has worked numerous spaceflight missions, supporting the astronauts from Mission Control for the communications system of the ISS. In her career, she has been awarded two of the Agency’s highest recognitions, the NASA JSC Center Director’s Award for mentoring and NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal for significant contributions to the ISS program. Additionally, Dr. Nagaraja received one of the 120 interview slots for the 2013 astronaut candidate selection from an initial pool of over 6,000 applications.
In the community, Dr. Nagaraja is part of the National Science Foundation FabFems program, a young professional of the World Affairs Council, a member of the Board of Directors for Women in Aerospace, and plays recreational lacrosse. She performs speaking engagements through NASA’s Speaker’s Bureau and volunteers regularly for the D.C. metro community, and she is a co-founder and contributor to a trust fund for the Shastri School for the Deaf and Dumb of Bangalore, India. Dr. Nagaraja has completed an around-the-world trip, performing outreach in developing countries and hiking to the base camp of Mt. Everest. She is an avid health-enthusiast, running marathons and half marathons across the world, and she founded Team Asha Atlanta, a marathon training group that raises money for education programs in India.
Dr. Nagaraja holds a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University, a master of science in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a doctor of philosophy in biomedical engineering from Georgia Tech and Emory University. She has previously published several scientific articles and a novel based on her doctoral dissertation called Your Bones Under the Microscope.
Originally from Texas, she now lives in the Washington D.C. metro area with her husband. She comes from a large family, with four siblings and dedicated, selfless parents, and she is on Twitter @beyondthecurls.