Rachel Weeks

Systems Test Engineer, United Launch Alliance

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Keep your head up high and keep your nerd game strong.

What do you do?

I work on the Payloads team for ULA. We take the payload (whether it’s a satellite or space vehicle) and prepare it for launch on one of our Atlas V or Delta IV launch vehicles. I work with a group of experienced technicians to create procedures and I make sure we perform them in a safe and professional manner that guarantees mission success.

Why did you choose this field?

Growing up in Orlando I was always able to see the shuttle launches from my backyard. This is what initially sparked my love for space and science fiction. In middle school and high school, I excelled in calculus and physics and didn’t want these skills to go to waste. I wanted to use this knowledge to try and discover the unknown.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I think starting my career in the space industry has been my biggest achievement yet. Earning my B.S. in Aerospace Engineering wasn’t a walk in the park, and I was constantly telling myself I wasn’t smart enough to achieve my dreams. I wish I could look back at my college self and tell her to keep her head up and to never question how truly capable she is.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love working in my engineering field because I enjoy seeing what mission I will be working on next - whether it’s a defense or space exploration mission, I feel like I am always contributing to the future of humankind.

Best advice for next generation?

Never let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough to pursue what you love, whether it’s your parents, professors, or even your friends. Keep your head up high and keep your nerd game strong.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“I would like to be remembered as someone who was not afraid to do what she wanted to do, and as someone who took risks along the way in order to achieve her goals.” - Sally Ride

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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