Some might say the success of the film “Hidden Figures” can be found in the display of the #BlackGirlMagic that can happen when women of color pursue STEM careers. The life of Tiera Guinn closely resembles that of Mary Jackson who was played by Janelle Monae in the award-winning film.
Huffington Post reports that at just age 22, Guinn works as a Rocket Structural Design and Analysis Engineer for the Space Launch System that aerospace company Boeing is building for NASA. In this position, Guinn designs and analyzes parts of a rocket that she said will be one of the biggest and most powerful in history.
Guinn’s childhood included aspirations to be an aerospace engineer at a very young age and a mother who constantly helped her keep her math skills sharp even if they had some grocery shopping to do at the same time:
“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.”
“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.”
Once Guinn set a goal, she didn’t allow anything to get in the way of her progress, even commuting an hour to the high school that would best suit her career path.
Guinn is set to graduate from MIT with a 5.0 and won’t need any shooting stars to grant her success. She says she wants young women to follow in her footsteps, but also to be prepared that it may not be an easy journey at times:
“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.”