Montwood Alumni’s Work Helped Forecasters Track Solar Eclipse, Hurricane Harvey

Former Montwood High School and UTEP student April Waugh’s path has led her from Far-East El Paso all the way to earth orbit.

Waugh, a 1998 Ram graduate, helped build the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GOES-16 weather satellite system that tracked the recent solar eclipse and Hurricane Harvey.

“There will be days when you think you can’t do this or other people think you can’t do this,” Waugh said in an email. “The world will tell you that you won’t make it. The bad days will sometimes outnumber the good ones…it doesn’t matter. Keep moving forward. Success requires a certain amount of defiance in the face of adversity. Nothing will ever compare to the day that you DID make it happen.”

Waugh graduated Summa Cum Laude at the University of Texas at El Paso in 2003. She also was named Outstanding Engineering Student (Electrical) and Montwood’s Outstanding Ex in 2006.  Waugh is currently working as a space systems engineer for Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colorado.

Waugh’s work is making many people proud, including her mother who works in the Socorro district.

“Here is an example of what Team SISD’s hard work has created!” said her mother, Josie A. Viel, an art teacher at Sun Ridge Middle. “Go TEAM SISD!”

A trade website,, praised the GOES-16 weather satellite, which stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite.

Launched into space last year, it provides atmospheric and surface measurements of the Earth’s Western Hemisphere for weather forecasting, severe storm tracking, space weather monitoring and meteorological research.