NASA’s Jet Propulsion(喷气推进) Laboratory (JPL) attracted Marlyse Reeves from an early age. Growing up in Pasadena, California, in JPL’s backyard, Reeves developed a love for everything related to outer space, and the lab was a regular destination for school field trips. Even as a child, Reeves, now as an MIT senior, knew she wanted to work in the space industry. Her love of space was cultivated at home, too. At MIT, Reeves quickly found her place in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (航空航天系).
As a junior, Reeves was selected to participate in the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program. The program focuses on leadership for engineers—people who may have high technical IQs but who may be not good at expressing themselves. Reeves holds the point that in industry, people have to communicate with other engineers—to explain their ideas and fit into the organizational structure.
In the second year of the program, students become coaches for the new students, which means a team coach observes, and instructs the younger group. So Reeves thinks it’s really the second-year students who are guiding the first-year students into how they can improve as leaders.
Reeves has been with Women in Aerospace Engineering (WAE) since its beginning in her sophomore year. The group builds a community for women in all aspects of aeronautics. Last month, Reeves helped organize the first WAE Day, an event for 18 high school girls in the Boston area to come to MIT to learn about aerospace engineering. Reeves says events like these are especially important for exposing young women to the possibilities of the field.
Just as she says, “Being a person who has gone into the aerospace industry and has seen the lack of women, there are often times when I am the only female in the room. I think it’s important for young women and girls to have role models, and just see that there are women doing it. I have met a lot of strong female role models for myself in industry... A lot of our events are open to men as well. We want to build a community of people who support women in aerospace.”