This is a question I’ve been getting a lot recently with my new job. Just a few weeks ago I left my job at MIT in Boston to move to Houston to come work at NASA as a science communications specialist for the International Space Station.
My love of space is no secret. I worked as a space reporter at MIT, I wear space inspired style all the time and will never pass up the opportunity to watch a launch livestream.
But when you are willing to dedicate so much of your life to something, you get some people asking why. Especially when it’s space and people ask you the standard, “Why worry about space when there are problems here on Earth?”
Don’t worry if you don’t know where you are going next. I haven’t known for the past 5 years.
From the outside, paths seem a lot clearer. Ambitions seem obvious. Dream jobs seem like perfect next steps.
From the inside, every step is filled with uncertainty, decisions, and self doubt. Thinking of the chairs you will leave empty, the projects you will leave behind, all for an ambiguous hope for what you imagine a role will be like.
In the past three years I’ve moved from Florida to London to Massachusetts to Texas. My journey from engineer to The Economist to MIT to NASA probably looks planned out. Like a cleanly executed five year plan. In reality it’s been late nights, long discussions, tears, uncertainty, and worry. Moving away from doing science work to communications was a distressing decision at the time. Choosing not to accept, or even apply, for full time work when I was graduating was a leap. I’ve taken a lot of bets on myself, my company, and paid for it with time.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy I’ve made the choices I have. I’m ecstatic to be working at NASA now! But just know as you make your career choices, everyone else is facing hard choices too, and the people getting the big opportunities aren’t just having them served up.
As Gary Vaynerchuk says, there aren’t any overnight successes.
This past week I just returned back from my first international speaking engagement. I was on the future of work panel at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. And as I’ve been posting about it, I’ve had some people asking how I land media appearances and speaking gigs like that one and what they entail, so I wanted to give a bit more clarity into that in a few different posts.
During a college engineering internship, I was asked to help implement an advanced manufacturing technology. If successful, I would essentially eliminate one manufacturing worker’s job. And in order to apply the technology, I had to work directly with that worker to understand his work, both of us knowing full well what the result could be. It was tremendously difficult and, at times, heart wrenching for both of us.
This is the type of scenario many of us will be facing as what we now call “the future of work” makes its way into the present. There are going to be tremendous benefits as well as tough conversations and new challenges to overcome.
Confronting such a personal impact of automation early on in my career made a lasting impression on me. It motivated me to closely follow not only the overarching statistics about job loss and automation, but also the smaller personal impacts happening every day.
On that note, I am excited to announce that as of today, I will be writing a new newsletter on the future of work for MIT Technology Review, Clocking In!
Danit Peleg has been pushing the bounds of 3D printed fashion for years. From her fashion collection made completely on home desktop printers in 2015, to her launch of the first 3D printed clothing available for purchase online this year, she continues to demonstrate 3D printing’s capabilities in fashion. I have been following her career since her TED talk a few years back and got the opportunity to ask Peleg five questions I’ve been dying to ask her about her experiences with 3D printing and the future of technology in fashion.
From lasers to supernovas, Berboucha is making science communication a priority
A career in communicating science can start at any age. For some it starts after years of experience in the field, others during their PhD. For Meriame Berboucha, it started while she was an undergrad.
Berboucha is currently a masters student at Imperial College in London, but started her science communication blog as an undergraduate studying physics. She was inspired to start it after she was a part of an Institute of Physics (IOP) science communication competition.
Working on the MAGPIE Machine at Imperial College London“Since then, I’ve wanted to share what it’s like to be a woman in physics and share snippets of my life as a physicist in order to inspire other women to get into the field and to realize that physics is for both guys and girls,” Berboucha said.
I am spending this summer in London, and as I’ve been traveling around the UK, I’ve come across some salutes to women in STEM. However, I think they need a bit more attention. While they may not be prominent, keep your eyes peeled and you will find them.
With this is mind, I decided to put together my #womeninstem travel guide from your next trip to the UK. I hope it makes it easier to honor and learn about these historic women who have paved the way for generations of women who have followed during your trip.
Growing up with a dad who is a huge Star Trek fan, and being a science fan myself, I have always had an affection for all the Star Trek series. With all of the comic con news coming out about the new series, I decided now was a perfect time to do a fun Star Trek cosplay modeling project! I took a stab at free-handing the commanders badge from the new Star Trek Discovery series in SOLIDWORKS.
On a mission to show the art and creativity in science, technology and engineering.