Previously published in Examiner
Part 32 of the female astronaut series
Women have penetrated almost every field and some women made the lists of firsts long before the USA. This series will concentrate on female astronauts. The astronauts are Russian, American, British, French, Japanese, South Korean and Canadian. Julie Payette is our home-grown Montreal born astronaut.
Mary Ellen Weber, Astronaut and engineer
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Mary Ellen Weber received her bachelor of science with honors in chemical engineering from Purdue University, her masters masters of business administration from Southern Methodist University, and her PhD in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.
Career in engineering
While doing her undergraduate degree, Mary Weber interned as an engineer at 3M, Ohio Edison, and Delco Electronics. Weber’s doctoral research involved “exploring the physics of gas-phase chemical reactions involving silicon.” She then worked for Texas Instruments doing research in computer chips. Weber worked for a “consortium of semiconductor companies, SEMATECH, and subsequently to Applied Materials, to create a revolutionary reactor for manufacturing next-generation chips.” She has a patent of her own.
Dr. Weber worked as an astronaut for 10 years. Dr. Weber worked in technology commercialization and she worked with a venture capital firm to successfully identify and develop a business venture leveraging space technology. “She was the Legislative Affairs liaison at NASA Headquarters interfacing with Congress and traveling with NASA’s chief executive.” ” Dr. Weber was the Chairman of the procurement board for the Biotechnology Program contractor, she also served on a team that revamped the $2 billion plan for Space Station research facilities.” Her other duties included: shuttle launch preparations, development of standards and methods for crew science training and payload and science development. She was part of the two space journeys: , STS-70 and STS-101, and has logged in with 450 hours in space. Dr. Weber resigned from NASA in 2002.
Dr. Weber is currently the Associate Vice President at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.