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NASA’s Wyche to be honored at WIPL’s Celebration of Inspiring Women

January 6, 2017

Vanessa E. Wyche, a longtime executive with the NASA Johnson Space Center, will be honored at the 2017 Celebration of Inspiring Women on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 6 p.m. at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Conference Center. The event is part of the seventh annual Women’s Leadership Conference and Celebration of Inspiring Women presented by Women in Philanthropy and Leadership (WIPL) for Coastal Carolina University.

Celebration tickets are $140 and may be purchased at wiplconference.com or by calling 843-349-5033. The annual event honors remarkable individuals and celebrates their contributions to South Carolina as well as the region, nation and world. The awards were created as an important and lasting way to recognize the incredible achievements of women who are from South Carolina or have made the state their home. Since the program’s inception in 2011, 34 women have been recognized.

Wyche, a native of Conway, S.C., is director of the Exploration Integration and Science Directorate at the JSC in Houston, Texas. She is responsible for providing executive guidance and direction for a multidisciplined organization of 400 civil servants and contractors to enable human and robotic exploration. Wyche also is working on plans for missions in the lunar vicinity to explore an asteroid and develop capabilities that lead to human missions to Mars. Her organization includes exploration systems; engineering and integration; mission concept and architecture development; physical science research, orbital debris, and image science research and operations; and applied-science mission support. EISD also provides for curation of all NASA-held extraterrestrial samples, extravehicular activity or “spacewalks” program management, and the development of strategic partnerships.

Wyche previously served as assistant director of the space center, where she assisted with policy development, staff relations, strategic planning, and management integration of technical, mission support and communications activities for the organization of approximately 3,000 civil servants and 8,500 contractors.

During her career with NASA, Wyche has held several key leadership positions, including flight manager in the now-retired Space Shuttle Program, and director of operations and test integration in the former Constellation Program. Prior to joining NASA in 1989, she worked for the Food and Drug Administration in Washington, D.C.

In recognition of her management, leadership and innovations, Wyche has received numerous honors, notably, a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, two NASA Achievement Medals, a JSC Innovation Award, 2014 Women@NASA awardee, and a national 2016 Women Worth Watching honoree by Profiles in Diversity Journal.

Wyche earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s in bioengineering from Clemson University. She is married to George Wyche Jr. and they have one son, George Wyche III.

The Women’s Leadership Conference and Celebration of Inspiring Women brings together women from all walks of life for two days of education, professional and personal development, and networking. Entrepreneurs, professionals, community volunteers and activists, students, moms, and women in transition all enjoy this dynamic program with incredible opportunities to learn and grow.

WIPL was founded in 2007 under the leadership of CCU first lady Terri DeCenzo. It is committed to inspiring, connecting and empowering women to strengthen their individual and collective voices in leadership at CCU and in the community, state, region and beyond. Members include faculty, staff and community leaders who are committed to creating and supporting opportunities for women in all areas of leadership and across all disciplines, while continuing to invest in scholarships for CCU students. Since its inception, WIPL has awarded 184 students more than $200,000 in financial support through a fully endowed scholarship and annual awards.