It seems like forever since I last posted on my blog. I talked of my experience after seeing Hidden Figures, the movie centering around Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughn and other women who made significant technical contributions to NASA several decades ago. At that time in January 2017, I did not know that today I would return to blogging about my Journey as a JPLer. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, operated by NASA and located in the beautiful San Gabriel mountains of Pasadena, California originated in part due to the women human computers portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures.
In my last blog post, I spoke of having taught some classes for NASA contractors. But never in a million years would I have imagined working here. It feels surreal at times, working with rocket scientists. Especially as I look at this pin I received a few days ago to commemorate and celebrate the arrival of the satellite InSight, scheduled to land on Mars Monday, Nov 26 at 11:47 am PST.
Ladies, I am truly “Living the Dream.” And it feels phenomenal. JPL has a truly rich history. A couple months ago, I experienced the honor and pleasure of meeting Sue Finley, the longest serving woman at NASA. Sue hired on to JPL in January 1958 as a computer, a few days before JPL launched the first successful satellite Explorer. Part of her role included calculating rocket trajectories by hand. When I say she has seen it all, I am not exaggerating. NASA was created in October 1958, meaning Sue has been a part of the US Space program longer than even NASA has. Check out the book “Rise of the Rocket Girls” which outstandingly tells her story and the story of JPL.
Ladies, I hope this inspires you to live your dreams. Know that anything is possible with the right mindset.
Stay tuned for the next episode of MJJ (My Journey at JPL).
All the BEST to you!