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WEATHER UPDATE: The Museum is closed Monday January 30.

Annie Oakley Society
Annie Oakley Society Award
Awarded in 2016
Donna Shirley

Donna Shirley


Annie Oakley Society Award

Donna Shirley, President of Managing Creativity, is a manager, educator, speaker, consultant and trainer on the management of creative teams. She retired in August 1998 as Manager of the Mars Exploration Program after a 32-year career at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. When Shirley joined the Jet Propulsion Lab in 1966, she was the only woman among the 2,000 engineers who had an engineering degree. At NASA, she worked on a variety of projects and programs including the team that created the heat shield for a space vehicle that was destined to enter Mars’ atmosphere. She served as mission analyst and later program manager for the Mariner 10 mission to Venus and Mercury. She led a research team studying a Mars rover. She was Mars Exploration Program manager, and led teams for Mars Pathfinder and Sojourner rover.

In 1997, Shirley was inducted into the Women in Technology Hall of Fame and in 1998 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame.

In 2003, Shirley retired from the University of Oklahoma’s College of Engineering where she was Assistant Dean and an instructor of Aerospace Mechanical Engineering. In 2002 and 2003, she was the founding Director of the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, Washington.

Ms. Shirley has a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and over forty years’ experience in engineering of aerospace and civil systems, including thirty years in management. She has numerous technical and management awards including four honorary Doctorates. She is the author of Managing Martians and Managing Creativity.

Shirley has one daughter who holds a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience, and two grandsons.

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