Pinay who struggled in Math at school, now a NASA Engineer - The Daily Sentry


Pinay who struggled in Math at school, now a NASA Engineer



Standing in front of Space Shuttle Discovery in 2007 COURTESY OF JOSEPHINE SANTIAGO-BOND
Math has always been one of the subjects, if not the only subject, that some people struggle to befriend since they were young. Thus, students who are not that good at numbers often times fail to land their dream jobs that require excellent mathematical skills. But a story of a Filipino woman defied the odds after landing a job at the world's most prestigious aeronautics and space agency.

Josephine Santiago-Bond, a proud Filipina, now works as an Engineer at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).


“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 in an interview.

She was born to a family of scientists who “were doctors of some sort”, as she described. Her parents and her elder sisters all held PhDs but she wasn’t really keen on following their footsteps.

Apart from the fact that she's struggling in math, she didn’t really have any profession in mind. She was from the Philippine Science High School but had a hard time as the school requires students to take more science and math subjects compared with other schools.

With no intention of becoming an engineer, Josephine enrolled herself in Electronics and Communications Engineering at the University of the Philippines. According to her, it was her older schoolmate who was able to convince her to do such. But, as expected, math subjects were her nightmare.

“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,” she admitted.

Still, she pulled through and managed to pass the 5-year course.


Even if the course was not easy for her due to her difficulties with math, she later took up Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from South Dakota State University after moving to the US.

There, she was told by Her graduate adviser about students having the option to undergo internship at the John F. Kennedy Space Center (K.S.C.) for the summer.

Being a risktaker that she is, and since she was up for the challenge, she seized the opportunity and the rest is history.

The summer in 2003 impacted her so much that by 2005, she was already working full-time at the space agency.

COURTESY OF JOSEPHINE SANTIAGO-BOND

COURTESY OF JOSEPHINE SANTIAGO-BOND
Josephine indeed took a leap into the great unknown.

“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,” she explained.

“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.” she continued.

As of writing, Josephine is the chief of the Advanced Engineering Development Branch and is responsible for “[supplying] engineering support to research and technology development projects at Kennedy Space Center.”

Source: Spot.PH