Kate was never certain what she wanted to be when she grew up. She enjoyed science, had a desire to serve in the military, and wanted to go to college. She struggled with how to put her interests together. During her junior year, she found some direction. She took a multiple-aptitude test that measured developed abilities and helped predict future academic and occupational success in the military.
C.J. grew up in the shadow of Edwards Air Force Base in California, where looking up from the playground to watch an experimental aircraft streak across the sky was not uncommon. While she was fascinated by the space program and the pioneering aeronautics work happening next door, the idea of making a career in aerospace was never in the forefront of her mind.
Nikki’s greatest inspirations growing up were her parents. Neither had a college degree but they encouraged her and her siblings to do well in school. From a very early age, she knew that she was going to college.
From the time she was a little girl, Michelle Haupt has loved flying on airplanes. As she grew, she wondered what it would be like to travel in space. She discovered that mathematics was her favorite school subject. These interests led Haupt’s decision in seventh grade to become an aerospace engineer.
As a child, one of Roberta’s favorite memories was when her whole family gathered around the TV to watch the Apollo missions to the moon. She vividly remembers when Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong said those magic words “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
As Valerie looks back on her life and career, all she can say is “not bad for a farm girl from Wisconsin. ” She cannot say she ever dreamed of working for NASA; however, she is extremely thankful that her journeys led her here. Her career choices did not seem to be suitable for the highly technical science and engineer-oriented agency. Yet, she was never so wrong. NASA encompasses all types of disciplines including education and accounting.
At a very young age, Heather became a very driven girl. Inspired by the Challenger disaster in 1986, she has turned her childhood dream to work for NASA into a reality. As a college student looking for her opportunity to work for NASA, Maliska participated in an internship at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif.
Catherine’s road to NASA began at an early age when she declared, in front of her classmates, that she wanted to be the first female astronaut. A young male student rebutted that girls could not become astronauts. Her teacher would have nothing of it, immediately looking at Ms. Bahm and ensuring she knew she could be whatever she wanted to be.
Gwen Young was a military brat and moved a lot during her childhood. Making friends was difficult, but a young Gwen found solace in school, excelling in math and science.
The daughter of an educator and an aeronautical engineer, Kathleen Howell grew up in southern California with varied influences, among them interests in dance, mathematics and aviation.
Jeanette Le’s road to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California started in Vietnam, which she, with her parents, fled when she was 8 years old – leaving Ms. Le with the feeling that she is, in her own words, the eternal “new kid on the block.”
As an engineer and a project manager working in aircraft flight research, Laurie Grindle is familiar with the saying: “You can learn more from failure than success.”
For as long as she can remember, Jennifer Cole has been “hooked on anything that flew” – from the roaring A-10 Thunderbolts and A-4 Skyhawks to the thump-thump-thumping helicopters that flew over her home near Willow Grove Naval Air Station outside of Philadelphia, Penn., to the space vehicles of her professional life.