Fionnghuala O’Reilly

“Fig” is a determined, self-proclaimed military ‘brat,’ who has never lived anywhere longer than 3 years in a row until she attended university. She has a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering from The George Washington University, which she has used to become a Director of the NASA Space Apps Challenge and a NASA Datanaut. Being appointed a NASA Datanaut means being accepted into a very competitive program made up of engineers and scientists who engage with NASA’s open data to create innovative new thinking, processes, and products. This year, the program officially recognized her initiative, #EmpowermentThroughCoding, whose mission is to support women and girls learning to code. Through her work as a Datanaut, she has also brokered partnerships with amazing organisations like ‘Girls Who Code’ and the ‘Equals Global Partnership’ to host events and bring science communication programming to thousands of women and girls. As a female engineer, she recognizes that she is a minority in her profession and has experienced why it is so important for women to break through glass ceilings. She wants to work to empower and support women in their careers so that they can stay competitive and continue to learn the skills necessary to go far.

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