Dava remembers watching multiple moon landings on TV in her hometown of Helena, Montana and being fascinated that human beings could actually be walking on the moon that she saw from her backyard. From the moon, Dava’s attention turned to the solar system and stars, of which there are many visible in Big Sky country. She learned to dream, to explore, and that nature and machines had much to teach her.
Nancy Searby was raised by a dad in the Air Force and a mom who stayed home to take care of her four daughters. One of her worst school memories, and yet one that was so formative, was when she attended elementary school in Bossier City, Louisiana in the 1960’s. Nancy attended school on the first day of desegregation, black and white students coming together.
Sarah spent four years falling in love with the natural world. As a geology major, she spent the bulk of her college career exploring national parks, volcanoes, and canyons all over the western United States. But when it came time to graduate, she faced a tough realization. She did not want to pursue a career in science. She did not have the burning desire to get a Ph.D. or be a professor. She just wanted to be outside.
Monica’s mother’s example taught her that hard work pays off. She was a single parent raising five children, and she remains Monica’s inspiration. From her mother, she learned three fundamental life lessons: to be true to herself; to be honest, regardless of the situation; and for every blessing she receives, to help someone else.
For Darlene Y. Boykins, her path to NASA began as a cooperative education (co-op) student for NASA. Ms. Boykins was born in Washington, D.C. and is a native Washingtonian.
Tahani Amer discovered her natural passion and inclination for engineering while watching her father fixing his car’s engine as she sat inside her small Egyptian apartment. While her love of math created a clear path for a mechanical and aerospace engineering future, it was great teachers and her father that encouraged and guided Dr. Amer.
Hashima Hasan’s love for space started when as a five-year old she stood in her grand parents’ backyard in India and watched Sputnik go by overhead. She had no idea how she would achieve her dream to become a scientist and attend Oxford University, as her uncle and grand uncles had done. But achieve it, she did.
For Toni Mumford, a “positive attitude and a willingness to take risks” … really paid off in career at NASA
Anne-Marie Novo-Gradac is a planner—one who puts an extraordinary amount of effort into mapping out what should happen next in life. So perhaps it’s a bit ironic that all planning in the world ultimately landed her in a career that she never dreamed she would achieve
Growing up in an inner city as a child born into a single-parent household, Nanette Jennings’ hopes for a bright future seemed hopelessly compromised.
My interest in space stems from my belief that what we have done, are doing, and can do in space is critical to the future of humanity. Throughout my career—whether it was working directly for NASA, training in Russia to become a space flight participant, advising aerospace corporations how best to help NASA be successful, or having the honor of being the lead for civil space policy for the Obama Presidential Campaign and transition team—I have worked toward that goal.