“There are not that many other kids that are into aerospace engineering,” New Rochelle’s Elisheva Shuter admits. But that hasn’t stopped her: This past summer, Shuter, 17, participated in the NASA Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholars (WISH) program, making her one of just 40 young women from the US—and the only one from Westchester—who went to the Johnson Space Center in Houston to learn from the best.
Shuter says she’s always been interested in math and science and has wanted to be an aerospace engineer since middle school. So, when she learned about WISH, which accepts about 130 aspiring female engineers for an online program, 40 of whom go on to the week at Johnson, she jumped at the chance. There, she found herself designing the propulsion system for a hypothetical Mars mission. She also got to tour the Saturn V rocket and meet one of her heroes, former NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz, most famous for managing the return of the crippled Apollo 13 spacecraft.
Perhaps best was the sense of possibility she got about the male-dominated career path. “They had women engineers and a woman astronaut, these role models, come in and tell us what it was like for them. [Working at] NASA is my dream job, so to hear presentations from them specifically about what I’m interested in was really cool.”