Gale Allen: From Scholarship to Legacy

Photo of Gale AllenGale J. Allen respects a personal-professional balanced approach toward life and knowledge seeking. “If at the end of the week I haven’t learned something new, then I have failed,” Allen said. NASA’s deputy chief scientist, Gale Allen, received a D.B.A. in business, with an emphasis in high-technology partnership development, from Nova Southeastern University (NSU). Raised in Virginia, she was the only person in her immediate family to have gone to college. “It was an amazing goal to achieve,” she says.

Education, space exploration, business management, and philanthropy are important to Allen. A recipient of the NASA Space Act, two NASA Exceptional Service Medals, and an Exceptional Performance Award, Allen regularly interfaces with Congress and the Office of the President on science matters. Allen believes a human will be on Mars in the 2030s, habitually reads scientific journals, and enjoys space-themed entertainment.

As vice president for the board of directors for the Zonta Club of Fairfax County, an organization of professionals empowering women in 67 participating countries through service and advocacy, Allen finds altruism a vocation. “We raise money through various activities,” she said. “We donate funds and also provide three scholarships in the county, including one female student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.”

Allen’s desire to give back was learned as a child, and her generosities are far-reaching. She is especially fond of NSU because it allowed her to pursue a virtual doctorate degree while balancing her personal and professional life. “NSU provided me the opportunity to work, raise my daughter—I was a single parent at the time—and to get my doctorate,” she said. “That was priceless. It was a no-brainer for me to give back to the next person.”

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