We recently sat down with Aerospace Engineer Jessica Samuels as part of our Born Seekers campaign. Jessica, an engineer who helps design rovers to explore Mars, pushes the boundaries of technology and inspires others to be relentlessly curious.
Q: Thank you for joining us. Would you please explain what your role is as an Aerospace Engineer?
I design, test, and operate spacecraft to explore space. In my case particularly, I support the exploration of Mars.
Q: What made you fall in love with science? Was there something that sparked your initial interest?
I have always been interested in space and exploring space. I also knew that I liked building things, taking them apart, and figuring out how they worked. Becoming an aerospace engineer seemed like the right fit.
Q: Tell us about what you’re working on now.
I'm currently working on the next rover mission that will hopefully be the first opportunity to collect samples of Mars and bring them back to Earth. By building these robotic spacecraft, we are pushing the boundaries of technology in terms of what can handle the environment of space, how long it can last, what sort of situations that they may need to encounter.
Q: What does it take to become a successful scientist?
I think to be successful in science and engineering, you have to be curious. You have to be inquisitive, and you have to really want to understand why things are the way they are.
Q: What challenges have you faced as a woman working in your field
One of the challenges that I faced in this type of a field was that there were times when I was the only woman in the room, or in the classroom. We want to be with like-minded people, and sometimes when you look around, and it's just you, it can feel a little uncomfortable.
Q: What do you think makes you a Born Seeker?
I'm a Born Seeker because I want to know more about what happened to our solar system and how it has evolved over time.
Q: What advice would you give the next generation of female scientists
The advice that I would give to anybody pursuing this type of field, and especially women, is that you really can do anything. Look at all the advancements our society has made all around us. Treat every step or activity an opportunity to help you reach the goal of what you want in the end.
Don't be afraid to be the only girl in the room. Don't be afraid to inspire other girls so that you aren't also the only girl in the room.