QuynhGiao N. Nguyen

Lead for Hypersonic: High Temp, Durable Materials

NASA

Find me online:

“I help NASA accomplish goals by addressing technical challenges, building teams & solving problems.”

MY ROUTE:

The Curved Road

MY WORK LIFE:

Lead for Hypersonic: High Temp, Durable Materials

foundation interest 1 interest 2

My work allows me to combine the foundation of PROBLEM-SOLVING and the interests of ENGINEERING and SCIENCE.


DAY IN AND DAY OUT

A great day starts with me meeting with my team in their lab facilities and being lucky enough to witness a test, and perhaps even setting it up. I'll get the opportunity to watch in real-time and see what we’ve worked on developing for weeks, months, and sometimes years, all come together right in front of our eyes. When we see results like that, we're all cheering and smiling, and I get to sit back and feel thankful that I was able to be a part of it all.

SKILLS, TRAINING, OR EXPERIENCE NEEDED

My technical background has helped me in the past few years make the transition over to project management. What I've learned is that communication is key. I always wanted to break the stereotype of the quiet, nerdy scientist, so I like to get out there and let my team hear my voice as a team coordinator and as their advocate. Communication skills are essential in my line of work. Learning to pause, breathe and exercise patience while meeting deadlines are necessary to thrive in this discipline.

EDUCATION TO GET HERE:

Lead for Hypersonic: High Temp, Durable Materials

I RECOMMEND COMPLETING:

  • High School
  • Undergraduate - any STEM degree
  • Graduate - Materials Science/Aerospace Engineering/Chemistry
  • Doctorate - Materials Science/Aerospace Engineering/Chemistry

What I studied STRONGLY RELATES to my work...

MY EDUCATION

  • High School - Diploma
  • Undergraduate - Notre Dame College, Chemistry, General
  • Graduate - Cleveland State University, Chemistry, General
  • Doctorate - Cleveland State University, Chemistry (Dissertation: Volatility of Titanium Dioxide in Water Vapor for Aerospace Applications

SOME HELPFUL FIRST STEPS FOR SOMEONE IN HIGH SCHOOL

Talk to people working in this field. Be the feet on the ground. Get an internship, shadow an engineer, volunteer and certainly never stop being curious. I'd also recommend joining organizations. I joined a National Honor Society for Women in Chemistry - Iota Sigma Pi. This non-profit organization helps women (professionals and students) promote/mentor chemistry-related careers and education.

HURDLES I OVERCAME

THE “NOISE” FROM PEOPLE

“Go back to your own country. You're stupid. You don't have to be smart to be successful.”

HOW I OVERCAME THE “NOISE”

As an immigrant and non-English-speaking child, I remember looking around and hearing all of these people with perfect American-English accents. I wanted to fit in, so I developed the goal of learning how to speak English perfectly as well. I can't believe I had that goal at age eight, but I put everything I had into reaching it...and I did! One goal at a time. Sometimes you have to remove yourself from noise that is toxic, sometimes you can also overcome noise through hard work.

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