She once struggles in Math but it didn’t stop this Filipina NASA engineer.
According to Gallup poll in 2005, students were asked to name the school subject that they considered to be the most difficult. Well, it’s not a surprise why mathematics came out on top of the difficulty chart. But what does the dictionary defines the word difficult?
Difficult is define as “not easily or readily done; requiring much labor, skill, or planning to be performed successfully.” This means exerting effort to learn eventually turns difficult into easy.
Just like any other student, Josephine Santiago-Bond also struggled in Mathematics back in his college days. In an interview with SPOT, Josephine revealed it never came into mind her mind working in NASA as an engineer when she was young. She didn’t even have a particular dream in mind growing.
“As a child, I always knew I would go to college, get a job, try to earn enough to afford the things I need and want, but I had not envisioned a particular profession,” she said.
Josephine was born in the United States by Filipino parents. Though both her parents and her sisters work as doctors, it didn’t inspire him to follow their paths.
“I would answer phone calls and have to ask the caller ‘Which Dr. Santiago?’ because my parents and later, both my sisters, were doctors of some sort.”
“Their curiosity and work ethic most likely rubbed off on me, but their professions did not speak to me.”
She took the Electronics and Communications Engineering course at the University of the Philippines.
“I had to crawl my way through some of the courses, but I wasn’t going to give up on [Electronics and Communications Engineering] because of a few bad grades.”
“In between my fair share of socializing, I practiced solving math and engineering problems until I was either confident enough to take the test or ran out of review time. There were lots of sleepless nights, but strong friendships were formed, and my persistence eventually paid off.”
Josephine then moved to the US to further her Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from South Dakota State University after graduation. A few years later, she have a summer job at the John F. Kennedy Space Center. Little did she know, the summer job turned into a graduate cooperative internship which led to a full-time job opportunity at the space center.
“I had zero knowledge about space shuttles, and did not even know that there was an International Space Station orbiting above us. I was just happy to take a break from South Dakota.”
Now, she works as one of their engineers. She encourages people that it is important to dream big but they must also prepare themselves to get out from their comfort zones.
“I see myself like Dorothy Vaughan who, upon learning of the installation of electronic computers, taught herself programming and trained her co-workers.”
“I proactively look for gaps that I can fill, I am responsible for continuing my professional development, and try to elevate others around me through mentorship.”
“Dream many big dreams, and explore challenging opportunities along the way. Push your limits, get out of your comfort zone, and pick tasks that are harder than what you’re used to. Go for growth.”
“Do things that you’re not already good at. Realistically expect that not all of your dreams will come true, at least not the first time you try, but give each try your best anyway.”
“Regularly assess your strengths, sharpen the saw, and find positive ways to use your strengths to achieve the next step toward your dream.”
This article originally came from the SPOT