“TAME lets kids know that there are possibilities outside of their town. There are so many opportunities. I’d hate to think any kids were missing out. “
What do you do in your job?
There’s a lot of hardware involved in the Space Station, and a lot of procedures. Our group is in charge of safety and reliability. We look at how hardware is going to fail and what effects that failure will have on other systems.
For instance, if something breaks off, we want to make sure there are no sharp edges that could cut a space suit. If something goes wrong in orbit, we’re part of a team to figure out how to fix it.
How did you first get involved with TAME?
I grew up in a small town. My high school had a graduating class of 72 people. I got involved in 6th grade in the Golden Crescent Chapter out of Victoria, Texas. When I started there was a summer program to teach kids concepts like algebra ahead of time, so we were ready when we started the school year.
We also took field trips to local industries to see how things worked. I knew I was good and math and science and TAME opened up my eyes to engineering.
I feel I owe a lot of where I am now to TAME. The chapter was led by Mike Jackson at Dupont, and when I went to college I got a scholarship from Dupont that helped get me through school. TAME lets kids know that there are possibilities outside of their town. There are so many opportunities. I’d hate to think any kids were missing out.
Who benefits from TAME programs?
Everyone benefits. For a lot of the TAME students, it’s the first time they’ve seen people who look like them doing math and science as a career.
It’s also an opportunity to make contacts, not just with industry professionals but with prospective college students. A lot of students get to college and get a little lost, so having other students to talk to helps them figure out how the transition to college will work for them.
It really is who you know. I went to UT Austin for a BA in mechanical engineering. One of my best friends there had an internship with NASA, and when he got hired on at Boeing he got me an interview. Now I’m with Boeing at the International Space Station and he’s a chief engineer with NASA.
What advice do you have for current TAME students?
Stay the course. There will be low points, but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
By Jessie Temple, Jan. 16, 2015.