Shonte Wright is a Thermal Systems Engineer in the Thermal and Propulsion Engineering Section at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). While at UCSD Shonte found the heat transfer and thermodynamics portion of the curriculum to be particularly fascinating. This interest encouraged her to pursue an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering - with an emphasis in the thermal sciences, at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCAT).
Presently, Shonte is a Thermal Systems Engineer on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project. She is responsible for tracking thermal resources (heater switches, heater power, thermostat count and set-points, temperature sensor count, and subsystem mass) as well as functional requirements; regarding these matters she is the technical interface with systems engineering, all thermal elements, and project management. Shonte's systems engineering role has been extended to include heater design and thermal testing. In addition to her work on MER, she is a Technical Recruiter for the Mechanical Systems Engineering and Research Division.
Prior to becoming involved with the MER project, Shonte was a member of the Europa Orbiter/Pluto Kuiper Thermal Team. Her responsibilities included the design, implementation, and verification of the preliminary thermal designs of the Europa Orbiter propulsion module, main engine assembly, and thruster cluster assembly. Shonte also worked with the Center for Space Mission Architecture and Design in a simulation of a concurrent formulation phase design process in which her thermal analysis of a Europa Orbiter Spacecraft design case was highlighted. In addition to her MER and Europa Orbiter/Pluto Kuiper work, Shonte supported the solar thermal vacuum test of the Mars Odyssey Spacecraft at Lockeed Martin (Denver, CO).
Shonte has been awarded by JPL for her work in initiating the JPL Thermal Tool User Group, and for her supporting role with the Center Space Mission Architecture and Design. She has been an invited guest speaker/presenter for NASA's Thermal Fluids and Analysis Workshop, for the Cullimore and Ring Technologies Conference, for a CALTECH Heat Transfer Class, for the National Society of Black Engineers/USC Engineering Department Major of the Month Session, and for the NCAT-Mechanical Engineering Department.
Shonte devotes her spare time to inspiring young students. She volunteers as an integration and test advisor to a local school for the FIRST Robotics competition, a NASA-sponsored nationwide robotics competition for high school students. In addition to these efforts she gives science based presentations to elementary school kids in underserved communities, she mentors and tutors high school students in the Pasadena, CA area, and she leads tours and other JPL related outreach events for elementary and high school aged students.