Dare Mighty Things - Session 16 [Bonus]

In this session we were fortunate enough to spend some time with Taryn Bailey, a JPL engineer at Nasa. Taryn is a brilliant mind who breaks down why she chose NASA, what made her become an engineer, and the best part of her job and more. 


She is an inspiration source that provides invaluable insights into what makes a good engineer and right now we are going to break down her main talking points as a means to encourage those interested in pursing the sciences.


What Made you become an engineer?

“I wanted to do something that was impactful to mankind and something that would use my brain, I always enjoyed taking things apart. I chose mechanical engineering because it is an umbrella that holds all types of other engineering: including chemical, thermal, and civil, so I get to dip my hands in different aspects of engineering and incorporate it into my job.”

Aerospace is amazing and I feel that the work that I do every day is important and makes a difference. 

Taryn Bailey

Why Did You choose Nasa?

It didn’t have to be Nasa, but they were at the top of the list and specifically JPL (Jet Propulsion Lab) because it focuses on space exploration. Working in aerospace is incredibly interesting. It forces you to uniquely engineer things for different planets and different atmospheres and things that are unique to whatever your’e doing. JPL is at the top of that list and the work that we do is incredibly unique and different 

What was the best project that you've worked on?

The Mars helicopter, because it is the first aerial extraterrestrial vehicle in space. You have to consider all the other types of engineering, mechanical, electrical, thermal and consider it for a whole different environment that we’re not accustomed to and at the same time it has the have all of the qualities of an areal vehicle in a compact space since it is a 4 pound drone size vehicle. JPL makes strides in order to push the boundaries of what engineering is.

What Is the best Advice for up and coming engineers?

The advice I would give to up and coming engineers is to believe in yourself and keep pushing. When I was beginning I asked myself, ‘What do I want to study and what do I think I can do?’ I surrounded myself with the right people and got mentorship from teachers. 

What Is the best Way to stay sharp?

The best way to stay sharp as an engineer is coming to work every day and surrounding yourself with people who are smarter, wiser, and incredibly intelligent so that they can pass their wisdom onto me. 

Taryn Bailey

Doing the work, whether it’s at work or doing stuff at home. When I was younger I would take things apart to see how they worked or watching documentaries and conturing to learn any way that I can is a great way for me to enhance my knowledge as an engineer as well as be knowledgeable about things in general. 

What Is the best part of working at JPL?

The innovative and creative aspect of it. A lot of projects are based around the idea of creating something new that the world has never seen before. It’s almost like being asked to imagine a color that you’ve never seen before or building things that go on completely different planets or that have atmosphere’s completely different than earth or that has extreme temperatures or zero gravity, that are so far outside of the scope of what we do in our day to day lives. That is when engineering is at its most creative, when we have to think about those problems and challenges and then convert that information back to what we know and how to relate it back to things that we do here.

What are the typical challenges you face as an engineer?

Sacrificing a lot of my college experiences in order to study and get good grades and be the best engineer that I could be. That meant going out to party’s, socializing, and doing all of those kid like things were less important to me or needed to be less important to me in order to succeed in my dream of becoming an engineer. That’s not standard to everybody but it is something that I personally dealt with. 


Because I am not a God given prodigy I dealt with doubt that I would be able to do this. I had times where I was studying late in the library and I felt like this problem is super difficult and I couldn’t figure it out and being surrounded by a bunch of white males that are older and have been in the industry for a very long time has invoked some doubt in me, but whenever I come to those points I remember the dream I had and go to friends and mentors, and ultimately the belief in myself and my educational foundation has carried me through. I encourage anybody going into this field to really surround yourself with a good support system and believe in the dream. 



To learn more about Taryn and her work, check out her breakdown of the Mar’s Helicopter Project

Watch Session 16: A Day With a Rocket Scientists at NASA [Bonus]

Published By J.D. Wright on 11/18/21

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