This weekend, I had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Tracy Drain, a mechanical engineer at Jet Propulsion Labs. She’s currently on the NASA team that’s sending a probe to Jupiter, and she came out as a keynote speaker at a conference I attended. I was super-excited because Tracy is a rarity: a beautiful, bubbly sistah with the enthusiasm of a child and the brain of a rocket scientist.
Being a science nerd, and particularly one of astronomy, I was captivated. Tracy’s roots are in Kentucky, and she spoke candidly of her path to the stars. As a child, she was fascinated by the solar system and wondered how scientists knew so much about its formation when they weren’t alive to see it. She demonstrated an aptitude for math and science, and a very wise college counselor set her on the path to JPL and NASA. Tracy got her master’s in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech, landed a series of coveted internships, and worked her way up to Lead Systems Engineer for JPL.
She didn’t have to talk about how hard it was to get where she is. You all know like I know that it was not easy.
Tracy gave a talk that I unfortunately missed, but I got a chance to speak with her the next day. I made it a point to shake her hand (and take a picture with her) and let her know how utterly thrilled I was that she was there, and that she was doing all kinds of awesome things in the name of sistahs in science. I tried my best to honor her in return by giving her the name of an excellent tour guide in the city she was travelling to next.
If you are interested in learning more about the dynamic Mrs. Drain, feel free to check out the following videos: