Terita Norton serves as a Systems Director, in the National Systems Group at The Aerospace Corporation, where she started as an intern through the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering (GEM) Program. Over her more than 20-year tenure with the company, Ms. Norton not only developed her own career, but she dedicated countless hours to mentoring women and other underrepresented groups to inspire them to pursue careers in STEM.
With a special interest in the welfare of girls from middle school to female engineers at the start of their careers, Ms. Norton’s passion is demonstrated through the creation of mentoring programs, such as when she co-developed the Pay-it-Forward program through the Aerospace Women’s Committee (AWC). The program, through a strategic website, secured various committee partners to promote AWC’s stewardship activities and acts as outreach resource for employees seeking increased involvement in the committee as well as expose students to available STEM activities.
Throughout her career, Ms. Norton has undertaken several initiatives that show her commitment to expanding the role that Aerospace plays in society. Ms. Norton founded a STEM initiative, A-MAN Saturday Science Academy (SSA) for secondary students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields. A-MAN SSA was created to increase the number of underrepresented students, especially women, pursuing degrees in STEM. She was active in developing the Aerospace Mentoring Initiative (AMI), an effort that led to her receiving the Aerospace Corporate Achievement Award. Ms. Norton also co-founded the Aerospace Black Caucus (ABC) Mentorship Program, and she coordinated the First Thursday Networking Mixers - a program intended to build and strengthen the network of professionals in the Aerospace industry within SoCal. She supports the Bridge Builder’s Foundation and has helped to set up the Pink Hardhat Days 4 Girls (PhDs4Girls) STEM camp that she volunteers for every year. PhDs 4 Girls is a STEM camp focused on exposing girls to the fields of Civil Engineering, Construction and Architectural Engineering.
Additionally, Ms. Norton is active in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), having served in multiple leadership roles; she serves as an EngineerGirl Mentor; and she is heavily involved with Girls Inspired and Ready to Lead (GIRL) Inc., where she continues to help lead the nonprofit organization to mentor and empower teen girls for future success. Finally, she plays an instrumental role in the Robert H. Herndon Science Competition (HSC), established in 1977 in honor of Robert H. Herndon, an inspiring African American engineer at Aerospace Corporation. The goal of the competition is to expose and encourage minority and female students to pursue careers in engineering and science. Because of her leadership, HSC has expanded from coast to coast.
Ms. Norton will undoubtedly continue to lead and mentor for many more years as she continues to grow in her own career. When asked why she continues to do so much for others she states, “I have been blessed with so much, and my parents have taught me to whom much is given much is required. Therefore, I want to share what I’ve learned with others and hope that they will, in turn, pay it forward.”
Women in Aerospace could not be more pleased to acknowledge Ms. Terita Norton as the
2020 Aerospace Awareness Award recipient.