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Meet the Filipina engineer who works at NASA

by | EDITOR’S CHOICE, TOP STORIES

Jan. 07, 19 | 3:38 pm

Who would have thought that the head of the Advanced Engineering Development Branch at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which is one of the 10 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sites, is a Filipina?

In an interview with Spot.ph, Filipina engineer Josephine Santiago-Bond admitted that she neither had any interest in science nor any extravagant career goals as she was growing up. When she was younger, she did not have the thought that, one day, she would end up working at one of the world’s most renowned civilian space program, and aeronautics and aerospace research agencies.

Santiago-Bond shared that she was born in the United States but her family moved back to the Philippines when she was only two months old. She was raised in Antipolo and grew up in a family of scientist, but nothing really stirred her interest in astronomy when she was young.

“I would answer phone calls and have to ask the caller ‘Which Dr. Santiago?’ because my parents and later, both my sisters, were doctors of some sort. Their curiosity and work ethic most likely rubbed off on me, but their professions did not speak to me,” Santiago-Bond was quoted as saying.

That was until she attended Philippine Science High School wherein she took more units of science and math than her classmates.

She initially had no plans on taking an engineering course but an old schoolmate convinced her to apply for the University of the Philippines’ Electronics and Communications Engineering program.

Santiago-Bond said that her college life was not a walk in the park. She shared: “I had to crawl my way through some of the courses, but I wasn’t going to give up on [Electronics and Communications Engineering] because of a few bad grades.”

“In between my fair share of socializing, I practiced solving math and engineering problems until I was either confident enough to take the test or ran out of review time. There were lots of sleepless nights, but strong friendships were formed, and my persistence eventually paid off,” she added.

After graduating from college, she moved to the United states and took her Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering at South Dakota State University.

In 2013, her graduate adviser then asked her if she would like to have a summer job at the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

Santiago-Bond said that she had no idea about the job or what they do there but she took it because she just wanted to take a break from her student life.

However, that job turned into something greater — a graduate cooperative internship, which allowed her to alternate semesters of studying and working at KSC until she graduated in 2005.

By the time she finished her Master’s Degree, she was ready to take on a full time job at KSC.

Now, she is the head of the Advanced Engineering Development Branch at KSC and is basically responsible for “[supplying] engineering support to research and technology development projects at Kennedy Space Center.”

“I see myself like Dorothy Vaughan who, upon learning of the installation of electronic computers, taught herself programming and trained her co-workers. I proactively look for gaps that I can fill, I am responsible for continuing my professional development, and try to elevate others around me through mentorship,” she spoke about her job at KSC.

As someone who has achieved so much in life, Santiago-Bond gave a piece of advice to those who want to achieve their career goals.

“Dream many big dreams, and explore challenging opportunities along the way. Push your limits, get out of your comfort zone, and pick tasks that are harder than what you’re used to. Go for growth. Do things that you’re not already good at. Realistically expect that not all of your dreams will come true, at least not the first time you try, but give each try your best anyway. Regularly assess your strengths, sharpen the saw, and find positive ways to use your strengths to achieve the next step toward your dream.”

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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 1 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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