National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Samira A. Motiwala

Samira A. MotiwalaStanford University
Stanford, CA
M.S. Aerospace Engineering

Cal Poly Pomona
Pomona, CA

B.S. in Aerospace Engineering ‘12

NASA Academy Research Project

Dirigible Airship for Venus Exploration

Principal Investigators

  • Dr. Geoffrey Landis
  • Anthony Colozza

Pomona, CA


“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein

Education and Professional Goals

I have graduated from Cal Poly Pomona (CPP) with a BS degree in Aerospace Engineering, and I plan on attending Stanford University this fall to pursue an MS degree (and eventually a Ph.D). My interest is space systems engineering.


I have been a part of (and helped to start) CPP’s microgravity team, where I had several opportunities to test attitude control systems for miniature satellites in microgravity. I’ve been particularly involved in CubeSat (picosatellite) development projects, and we have finally proposed to launch one of these in the near future. I’ve also been a part of our school’s AUVSI team for the student UAS competition, for which we developed an autonomous aircraft system for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

I also interned at The Boeing Company in 2010, where I developed a National Lab payload concept investigating space radiation effects on nanostructured, carbon-based nonvolatile memory to fly on the International Space Station.

Other Activities and Interests

I’ve been an officer for several different school organization chapters, most notably with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and I also mentor for a group called Women in Engineering (WIE) at Citrus College. Reading, drawing, and playing video games are preferred free-time hobbies.


If I could do anything I’ve ever wanted, I would become an astronaut and spend my days weightless in microgravity on the ISS. I’ve also wanted to travel the world, learn many different languages, and become a master at playing the piano and drums while developing my artistic ability and selling paintings to strangers. Dream big!