STEMinist Profile: Holly Griffith, Flight Controller/Engineer

Holly Griffith

Holly Griffith

Flight Controller / Engineer
Johnson Space Center

What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
As a kid I loved shows like Star Wars and Star Trek. This got me interested in space in general, which led to me wanting to work at NASA. My interest stayed with me all through high school, and when it came time to pick a major in college, I decided that engineering would be the best one for me to be able to get there.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
There have been so many! If I had to pick one, I would say working towards my ascent/entry certification. We do sims (simulations) to get us flight controllers prepared to sit console. The sims ready us for just about any situation you can think of, nominal and off-nominal. The ascent/entry sims would last 4 hours and you would have about 5 ascent or entry sims in that time. They were always so exciting, to get to “work” 5 Shuttle ascents in a row!

It was so faced paced and things happened so quick that you always had to be ready for anything. The group dynamic was great, too, since everybody had to be on their toes and help each other out by giving their inputs to failures even if they were in someone else’s system. It really showed you the importance of teamwork in this job.

Role models and heroes:
My parents – they always told me I could do whatever I wanted and supported me 100%. Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson for being such great science communicators. Princess Leia – I know she’s not real but she’s always been one of my heroes and was the first person to get me interested in science and space.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Do what you love. Don’t let the lack of women in a certain field deter you; doing it anyway is the only way to change that.

Favorite website or app:
Just one?? 🙂 Websites: I spend a lot of time on Reddit, I like the “Today I learned” and “Ask me anything” subreddits. I also spend a lot of time on Amazon since I love to read. Apps: Instacast for my podcasts, Osfoora for Twitter, and Kindle. Of course, Facebook.

Twitter: @absolutspacegrl, @smartgirlsrock

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