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Melanie Stricklan

Melanie Stricklan

Cofounder and Chief Strategy Officer, Slingshot Aerospace
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Melanie Stricklan, a 20-year Air Force vet who was a technician on surveillance aircraft, cofounded Slingshot Aerospace in 2016. The Austin, Texas-based startup utilizes AI to exploit data for defense and commercial applications, such as responding to natural disasters. When Hurricane Michael hit the Florida coast in 2018, Slingshot helped determine the best places to assemble triages and find the safest routes to hospitals, delivering that information to FEMA and other disaster response agencies. The company’s clients now include the Department of Homeland Security, NASA and the Air Force.

Stricklan received a BS in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and an MS in space systems operations management from Webster University. From 1996 to 2017, she was in the Air Force, involved in what’s known as “space control and battle management,” a program to protect American space capabilities from new threats. Logging some 1500 hours on the E-8CJSTARS, a surveillance aircraft, she led the development and deployment of experimental spacecraft, electronic warfare and cyber technologies. She’s also advocates for underprivileged youth and young women to get involved in STEM.

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