Emerging Leader

Columbia Mishra, Ph.D.

Maxar Technologies

For significant contributions to spacecraft engineering; for combining exceptional technical skill and communications talent in advocacy of others; and for serving as a role model to aspiring women engineers.

Columbia Mishra, Ph.D., is a deputy systems engineering manager at Maxar Technologies with deep expertise in thermal fluid systems, consumer electronics, and spacecraft engineering. She has more than 17 years of industry and research experience in diverse technology sectors, including at Intel, Apple Inc., Stress Engineering Services, Makino Asia, and Tata Motors. Dr. Mishra is now a technical leader developing next-generation spacecraft for a range of missions, including NASA’s Artemis mission to the moon and proliferated low Earth orbit satellites. She currently oversees four commercial satellite programs.

Dr. Mishra’s research has been published in Nature Materials and the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, among other publications. She won the prestigious Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship, and holds two patents for her work in thermal architecture and innovation in electronic systems.

Dr. Mishra is a distinguished speaker who appears at multiple global forums on the science of spacecraft engineering. Currently, she mentors first-generation high school students and early-career engineers globally. She also serves as the industry advisor to the Carnegie Mellon University Rocket Command club.

She is highly involved with the technical community and has served on the technology advisory council of the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering. She also serves on the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Technical and Engineering Committees Council, overseeing all ASME publications, technical divisions, research committees, and technology groups. Dr. Mishra has held several leadership roles within ASME, including technical program chair for its 2020 Summer Heat Transfer Conference. She was one of 10 engineers selected globally for ASME’s prestigious Early Career Leadership Intern Program to Serve Engineering (ECLIPSE), and she received the ASME inaugural 2020 Lakshmi Singh Early Career Leadership Award for her leadership and service.

The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) inducted her into its Mechanical Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 2022 for her contributions to mechanical engineering. Dr. Mishra was elected an ASME fellow in 2023.

Dr. Mishra received the Cockrell School of Engineering Student Leadership Award for her contributions as the first international graduate student body president, representing 13,000 students to the university administration, UT System Board of Regents, city of Austin, and Texas Legislature. She advocated for graduate student policies in the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress, and continues to work with members of Congress to advance technology policies.

Dr. Mishra holds three degrees in mechanical engineering: a Ph.D. from UT Austin, an M.S. from Texas Tech University, and a B.S. from Jadavpur University in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

Dr. Mishra holds the title of Miss Asia California Global 2021 and Miss India Oregon 2019. She uses her platform in the pageant industry to raise awareness about social issues, including women’s representation in STEM. She lives in Hayward, California, with her partner, Philip Gach, Ph.D. In her free time, she enjoys music, flying, and traveling.