Gladys Ngetich Named a 2021 IAF Emerging Space Leader — MIT Media Lab

Gladys Ngetich Named a 2021 IAF Emerging Space Leader — MIT Media Lab

Dr. Gladys Ngetich, a postdoctoral scholar in the Space Enabled research group at the MIT Media Lab, has been selected by the International Astronautical Federation as an “Emerging Space Leader.” The International Astronautical Federation has  announced the 25 brilliant students and young professionals chosen by the IAF  as “Emerging Space Leaders.” Each honoree will receive a grant and participate in the International Astronautical Congress – IAC 2021. The IAC 2021 will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 25 – 29 October 2021.

These 25 students and young professionals were chosen by the IAF Emerging Space Leaders Sub-Committee composed of nine highly experienced space stakeholders. They will travel to Dubai in October 2021 to participate in the IAC and have the opportunity to extend their network, gain knowledge and meet space experts.

Gladys Ngetich

Dr. Ngetich is a Rhodes Scholar and a Schmidt Science Fellow, currently working as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Space Enabled research group at MIT. Her postdoctoral research focuses on wax-based propellants for launch and in-space propulsion for small-satellite missions.  Specifically, Gladys is performing numerical simulations to compare with the experimental results from research to test the behavior of beeswax and candlewax during a manufacturing process called Centrifugal Casting. Read about Gladys’ recent findings presented at a conference hosted by the American Insitute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. In another recent paper by Space Enabled you can read more about the overall project to understand the potential of wax as an in-space propellant.

Gladys obtained her PhD from the University of Oxford where she researched advanced techniques for cooling jet engines. Before the University of Oxford, she pursued BSc in Mechanical Engineering at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya. Gladys has a deep interest in the space sector – particularly the use of space to support sustainable development goals. She hopes to use her knowledge, network, and skills to enrich Kenya’s space sector in the future.

Outside research, Gladys enjoys sports. She played soccer for the University of Oxford Women Soccer team. She was also an Oxford Blue athlete for 400 m Hurdles. Gladys is passionate about empowering women and girls – she heads Iluu; an organization headquartered in Kenya that empowers women.

Gladys has been a recipient of many other notable awards and recognitions including; being named among Kenya’s Top 40 Under 40 Women, MIT’s Rising Star in Aerospace, International Gas Turbine Institute Young Engineer Award, UK Rare Rising Star, Skoll World Forum Fellowship, and nominated twice for the McKinsey’s Next Generation Women Leaders Award.

Recently, Gladys’ research and her inspirational academic journey have been featured in Nature and twice in BBC Science News. Gladys is also a budding author; she recently published a book – The Bold Dream: Transcending the Impossible.

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