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NASA Engineer and Huntsville, Ala., Native Tawnya Plummer Laughinghouse Honored with National Women of Color Award
Betty Humphery
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

News release: 08-026

Tawyna Laughinghouse HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Tawnya Plummer Laughinghouse, an engineer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and a native of Huntsville, has received a National Women of Color Technology Award for exceptional professional and community service.

Career Communication Group’s Women of Color magazine and the IBM Corporation presented Laughinghouse with its “Rising Star” award, recognizing young minority women who have excelled quickly in technology-driven professions.

Laughinghouse is a materials engineer in the Nonmetals Engineering Branch and provides ceramic and ablative material expertise in support of NASA projects, such as the small solid propellant motors associated with the Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster, the Ares First and Upper Stages and the Orion Launch Abort System.

She began her career at NASA in 1990 when she participated in NASA’s Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program. From 1991 to 1996, she served as a NASA Women in Science and Engineering scholar, which provided her a full-tuition college scholarship and summer internships at the Marshall Center.

After graduating college in 1996, Laughinghouse was a process chemist at Daubert VCI Inc. in Cullman, Ala., and in 1999, she joined Aerovox Inc. of Huntsville as a product engineer. She returned to the Marshall Center in 2004 as a materials engineer.

Laughinghouse earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Spelman College and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, both located in Atlanta, in 1996. In 2006, she received a master’s degree in management, with a concentration in management of technology, from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

She has earned numerous honors and awards during her career, including selection into the 2008 NASA Foundations of Influence, Relationships, Success and Teamwork, or NASA FIRST, leadership development team. The program helps participants develop foundational leadership skills.

Laughinghouse received the Rising Star award in November 2007 at the 12th annual National Women of Color Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Conference in Atlanta. The conference supports and recognizes the accomplishments of minority women in information technology, computer science, information science and digital arts. Laughinghouse and her husband, Scott, have one daughter, and live in Huntsville.

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