As March is  Women’s History Month, I would like to tell my own HERstory.

My heart melts for young people with wide-eyed curiosity and bold dreams of working someday for NASA, even when they live halfway around the world or a few miles away like Laurel.

Back in my childhood days in the Philippines, this was a far-fetched idea until my first-grade class was given a holiday in July 1969 to watch the video of the first man on the moon, the golden ages of human space flight.

My introduction to the science of flight was taught by my grandfather, or Lolo, as we called him, who taught me how to make my first kite from newspaper, coconut midriff and rice paste. 

My love for math and science was triggered by my dad, who was a civil engineer. I caught his meticulous attention to detail and kept a neatly-written engineer’s journal.

In college, I took civil engineering where women were a minority. As an engineering graduate student, I started reading about NASA and the Mercury and Gemini astronauts. My big break came when I attended a seminar by a Filipino-American NASA scientist visiting his alma mater, where I was studying.’

With him as one of my advisers, I did my doctoral dissertation at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt. When I found my chance to work as senior research scientist and science lead for the NASA GLOBE Observer Program, I knew that I wanted to share the opportunity for women in underserved areas of our society, including those from Laurel, and the world the joy of engaging in STEM. And yes, NASA has opened pathways for women (and men) of any race, background or creed to live their dream. 

For seniors in local high schools interested in pursuing STEM internships, you may explore NASA Goddard or nearby Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory for similar opportunities. For more information on NASA opportunities and internships, email me at