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Danielle Wood

Associate Professor | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Just Tech Fellow

Danielle Wood is an associate professor in the Program in Media Arts & Sciences at the MIT Media Lab and holds a joint appointment in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics. Wood also serves at MIT as the faculty lead for African and African diaspora studies. Within the Media Lab, Wood is the founding director of the Space Enabled Research Group, which seeks to advance justice and promote sustainability on Earth using designs enabled by space. Prior to serving as faculty at MIT, Wood held positions at NASA Headquarters, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the Aerospace Corporation, Johns Hopkins University, and the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. Wood is a full member of the International Academy of Astronautics where she cochairs the IAA Space Traffic Management Committee and is a coeditor of the space journal Acta Astronautica. Wood has also served multiple times as a private sector advisor to the US Delegation for the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Wood studied at MIT, where she earned a PhD in engineering systems, SM in aeronautics and astronautics, SM in technology policy, and SB in aerospace engineering.

Project Description

Danielle Wood’s project, Space Enabled Designs, synthesizes her work as she practices aerospace engineering with an emphasis on equity, accessibility, and cultural contextualization. For example, many of her projects include collaboration with African space leaders to apply satellite earth observation systems to improve policies related to drought response, mining, forest management, invasive plant management, and other policy questions. Through the support of the Just Tech Fellowship, Wood will bring together the lessons from her prototype projects through two outputs. First, she will write a series of publications that highlight the scholarly and societal impact of her work. Second, she will start an educational initiative that serves high school and university youth called Zero Robotics. Through this program, Wood will expand access to an educational outreach activity that invites youth to learn to code robots operating on the International Space Station.

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