Denisse Aranda came to the United States from Venezuela to follow her dream of becoming a mechanical engineer at NASA. She first started working at NASA in 2008 as an undergraduate researcher, and today is a Contamination Control Engineer doing research and analysis in the areas of aerodynamics, aerothermodynamics, flight mechanics, and structures of NASA’s future launch vehicles, hypersonic systems, and planetary probes.

In this video interview with Broadly, Denisse talks about being a woman engineer in a mostly male-dominated field, and the importance of inspiring the next generation.

“It’s hard to see yourself progress in a field if there are no examples that are paving the path for you. Women who are already engineers play a really big role, because there are girls who are smart, who are curious that don’t have the opportunity and are intimidated and belittled,” says Denisse. “To give them the opportunity, to give them exposure – and all of a sudden we are just trying to build a generation that can just fulfill their dreams. And that’s what it takes to get there.”

Denisse also talks about what she hopes her legacy is saying she wants to be a person that changes perceptions and moves women forward in engineering. Well, she’s certainly on her way!