At the young age of 22, Tiera Guinn is already an engineer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) agency. She works as a Rocket Structural Design and Analysis Engineer for the Space Launch System, which is a program being built by Boeing for NASA. As part of her job, Guinn designs and analyzes portions of a rocket that is expected to be the largest and most powerful in aeronautics history.
Ms. Guinn said she wanted to be an aerospace engineer since childhood and her career path seems to mirror those of the Black heroines in the blockbuster movie “Hidden Figures” – which tells of the first Black women who worked at NASA as human computers.
She said her mom first noticed her ability to organize and do math at an early. So, “when [my mom and I] would go to the grocery store, she would get me to clip coupons [and] put it in my coupon organizer. By the time we got to the register, I’d have to calculate the exact total, including tax. And I did that since I was six years old.”
Guinn says she always knew what career path she wanted to pursue. “One day I saw a plane fly by and I just had this realization, ‘huh, I can design planes. I’m going to be an aerospace engineer.”
During middle school, she chose classes that fostered her love of aerospace. Then she traveled over an hour each way to a high school that would adequately prepare her for her time in college to pursue aeronautical engineering.
Guinn is in the process of graduating from MIT with a 5.0 GPA and on a clear path to a successful career in the aerospace field. As for young girls looking to follow in her footsteps, Guinn wants them to anticipate obstacles as they pursue their dreams. Her advice to them is, “You have to look forward to your dream and you can’t let anybody get in the way of it. No matter how tough it may be, no matter how many tears you might cry, you have to keep pushing. And you have to understand that nothing comes easy. Keeping your eyes on the prize, you can succeed.”