When Vicky Garcia was growing up, she was the “handyman” in the family. She would fix things around the house, and even took apart and fixed two flat-screen TVs. Now, she works for NASA as part of the team working on the Ares I rocket—which is part of the program that will one day take humans to Mars!
Vicky Garcia was born profoundly deaf, and she learned to read lips and attended regular school. While she was attending the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, she discovered that she loved solving real-world problems using math and science.
These problems are exactly the kind of problems NASA works on every day, and Vicky says that she thanks the Entry Point internship program for getting her involved with NASA. The Entry Point program is a special program for people with disabilities who are studying science and technology. The program works with different companies like NASA, IBM, and L’Oreal to give students the chance to apply their skills in real-world settings.
Vicky loved her internship at NASA, and even got to go inside some parts of the International Space Station before they launched into space! She was hired to work at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center as a systems engineer. Vicky’s job is to make sure everyone who is working on all the different projects is in sync (working together), and that all the goals for the projects are met.
Vicky says one of the best things about working for NASA is that you have something different to work on all the time. The job also fits right in with her love of problem-solving. Going into space is full of unknowns—you really don’t know what you might find out there! She says, “We try to make sure we account for any possible future issues to focus on safety, so we have to ask a lot of ‘what ifs.’ Engineers tend to have an inquisitive mind, so we ask the tough questions that have no obvious answer.”