This post is about fighting. Believing. Passion. Success. Standing up, arms flailing if need be.
Dr. Harriett Jenkins worked for NASA from 1974 to 1992 in the Equal Opportunity Programs, paving the pathway that many of us have travelled thus far in our careers. Because of Dr. Jenkins’ work, women, minorities, and disabled persons have a luxury of professional comfort not known during her own upbringing and career. She also worked for the Senate as the director of the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices, taking her beliefs even further through the government.
I had the pleasure of receiving the fellowship for which she is named (The Harriett Jenkins Pre-doctoral Fellowship) while I was pursuing my own doctorate in a STEM field. During this time, I witnessed the quiet strength and invisible but surely able-to-be-woken feisty personality. Dr. Jenkins could capture you with a simple smile and all ears were hers. Others who worked with her during her tenure would tell stories of Dr. Jenkins, and they inevitably described her fervor and forward-thinking attitude. Her ability to envision and convince. To not only believe in something but also to see it through.
So as a woman at NASA, thank you, Dr. Jenkins. As much as I like to believe that I am solely accountable for my successes of attaining this dream job, I must admit there are many others responsible for the opportunity, even if unbeknownst to me. And I, for one, am thankful.