STEM Professional of the week

Dr. Salma Saeed      
Lockheed Martin Corporation

Salma Saeed is part of a wonderful multi-cultural family, born to a Colombian mother and an Indian father who collectively instilled in her the love of her cultures and the confidence needed to pursue a technical career.

Salma’s affinity for the sciences surfaced during her high school years. She considered math and science to be her favorite subjects. It also happened, that her math teacher was a former chemical engineer who dedicated his professional life to inspiring students to pursue the opportunities offered by technical careers. These experiences and support from her family gave Salma the confidence needed to follow her dreams. Inspired, Salma set out on a journey to become a force in the technical community, and she started, by enrolling in one of the world’s top technical universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After completion of her bachelor’s in mechanical engineering at MIT, she joined the Boeing Company working on satellite systems and developing algorithms for altitude control systems and fault identification and remediation, while pursuing her Ph.D at Stanford University, which she completed in 1997.

In 2003, Dr. Saeed joined the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Advanced Technology Center (ATC), where she developed mathematical models and simulations to analyze complex spacecraft with flexible appendages, such as solar panels. For the past 8 years, Dr. Saeed has made her mark as an accomplished Research Scientist and current Systems Engineering Technical Lead at the ATC of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. Dr. Saeed led an Internal Research and Development Systems Engineering Team for a hosted laser-radar payload, with additional support from eight technical experts in optics, structures, power and thermal subsystems. She has performed system identification using principal gain tracking, developed integrated dynamic and optical models, simulated optical alignment performance and performed as principal investigator on three contact research and development contracts with values of $6M and as deputy program manager on two CRAD contracts valued up to $1.5M. At STAR Labs she has achieved multiple successes developing technologies that give the company competitive advantages in the aerospace marketplace.

Dr. Saeed considers herself lucky to have had the help of people who encouraged her early on and who helped her face challenges throughout her career. This gratitude and understanding of the opportunities she had is what motivates her volunteering commitments. She spends her free time volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and as a judge for “The Tech Challenge,” where she has coached and helped kids who did not grow up speaking English, overcome language barriers. She has effectively leveraged her Hispanic background and her mastery of the Spanish language to communicate, encourage and inspire underserved students in the promotion of STEM careers.

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