By Stephanie M. McPherson
Tiera (Guinn) Fletcher ’17 decided to become a rocket scientist at age 11. Almost 16 years later, she’s helped bring to life one of the most powerful rockets ever built—NASA’s Space Launch System, which will send the Orion spacecraft and its crew into deep space.
“Having a role in bringing the rocket to this point—I felt like a rock star,” says Fletcher, now a project engineer at Boeing. “It nearly brings tears to my eyes, because I saw it start on paper, physically crawled into the engine section, helped integrate the pieces, checked and balanced it via documents, and approved it to travel to the Kennedy Space Center.”
Now 27 and a soon-to-be mother of three, Fletcher was first exposed to aerospace engineering through an outreach program Lockheed Martin held at her middle school in Georgia. She had always been into math and science. Grocery shopping with her mother, she would mentally calculate the tab before they got to the register. Her father, a construction worker, taught her how to build and problem-solve in physical space. But it wasn’t until the presentation that all those disparate-seeming interests merged into one dream.