Shoot for the Stars

Written by Akshita K, Systems Engineer at NASA

I came to America 25 years ago from India with my parents. They came to this foreign land with just the clothes on their back and one goal: provide a better life for their children. I grew up watching my dad work 12-15 hours a day to single-handedly support a family of five. We never went on family vacations, camping, movies, or even a weekend getaway. If we ever wanted something, we were told “No, it’s too expensive” or “Maybe when it’s on sale.” My mom was a conservative stay-at-home mom who couldn’t speak English and had no friends or family to help her with three children. They both struggled, and they struggled a lot.

But this struggle taught me something. It taught me to appreciate what little we have in life and to never be afraid to dream big. It taught me to take risks. It taught me to be self-motivating. It taught me to be a fighter. Most importantly, it taught me to never allow failure to define who I am.

Five years ago, I would have laughed at the thought of ever getting a job at NASA. A month ago, I received an offer from Marshall Space Flight Center. In that moment I realized that dreams do come true. Dream hard, and dream big. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. #womeninstem #nasa