2009

Starr Ginn, Deputy Branch Chief, Engineering Directorate, Aerostructures Branch, Dryden Flight Research Center

Ginn: I do. And I think it’s more at the younger ages, though, because I think our society’s still kind of segregated – girls and boys – at the young ages. Girls are supposed to play with dolls and play in the kitchen, and boys are supposed to be playing sports or building with LEGOs. There are just these stereotypes that still a lot of families kind of push. So what needs to happen is, at a younger age girls need to realize that they can do absolutely everything that a boy can do, and they might find that it’s more interesting than the toys that they were given to play with because they were girls. So I’d like to try to hit more of the elementary age schoolgirls. Even up to the 8th grade, I think you still have a bit of an influence on the girls. The girls, after they’ve started school, realize they’re pretty good at math and science, but maybe they get intimidated that the boys think they know more about math and science from their natural play.

NTB: Or they think, like you did, that the only route they can take with that kind of interest is teaching.

Ginn: Right! Exactly. How do you apply this stuff?

NTB: They need someone like you to expose them, I suppose, to other career paths.

Ginn: Because I feel like I had so many perfect opportunities that all seemed to fall into place at the right time, and most all of that was done during my school-age years, I try to give back as much as possible to our education programs that we have here, whether that be going out to the schools during engineering week, or going on recruiting trips to the colleges, or just anything I can do. We try to take, even personally outside of work, when we see kids that seem like they have an edge in one of the stem fields, we’ll take them flying in our airplane just to start getting them enthusiastic about the things you can do. But we still have to do a lot more in that area. NTB The only long-term goal I have is, I know that I will be working for NASA for my whole career. It’s an amazing place to work. As far as what particular job I’ll be doing, it’s always just been what opportunities pop up at the right time that just make sense. After doing a lot of technical work in the structural dynamics group, I had a short opportunity to act as a chief engineer on a new potential x-plane. Unfortunately the program got canceled when it moved into the second phase, but that was very exciting. Then, this branch chief opportunity came up and it just really fits my personality, being a real people person as well as being technical. So I’m having fun doing that. I’m not sure where everything’s going to steer from there. 

NTB: Looking ahead, what are your long-term goals at NASA?

Ginn: The only long-term goal I have is, I know that I will be working for NASA for my whole career. It’s an amazing place to work.

As far as what particular job I’ll be doing, it’s always just been what opportunities pop up at the right time that just make sense. After doing a lot of technical work in the structural dynamics group, I had a short opportunity to act as a chief engineer on a new potential x-plane. Unfortunately the program got canceled when it moved into the second phase, but that was very exciting. Then, this branch chief opportunity came up and it just really fits my personality, being a real people person as well as being technical. So I’m having fun doing that. I’m not sure where everything’s going to steer from there.

For more information, contact Starr Ginn at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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