Dr. Ying-Chu Lin (Y. C. L. Susan) Wu was the first woman to receive her PhD in Aeronautics from Caltech in 1963.
She joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) and her research area was in Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) Power Generation. In 1982 she became the head of the Energy Conversion Programs. She took early retirement from UTSI in 1988 and founded ERC, Inc., an engineering and scientific consulting company. She received many awards and honors including the Faraday Medal for MHD Power Generation, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Plasma Dynamics and Laser Award, and the Achievement Award by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She was a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), associate fellow of AIAA, and Life member of SWE. Dr. Wu received the Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013.
In 2011 Dr. Wu gave the inaugural Distinguished Women in Aerospace lecture at GALCIT. In that speech she attributes her success to her commitment to herself and others. She believed in her ability to take charge in a male dominated field and persist through challenges which she saw as didactic opportunities. Her company, ERC, flourished on this commitment to excellence, integrity, and the notion that everyone should be treated as she wished to be treated. Dr. Wu's broad successes embody the resonance of her dedication to science, her work on the national and international levels to include more diversity in engineering fields, and her leadership.