Aminah Taylor-Coleman: Achieving Her Goals
Born and raised in New Jersey, Aminah Taylor-Coleman struggled trying to juggle school, sports, work, and family. Time management and organizing her schedule were a challenge, and her grades weren’t always the best. Still, she persevered and made it her priority to study and work every day to achieve the goals she set for herself.
It all started in 3rd grade. Aminah’s teacher assigned students a project challenging them to research someone important in history. That’s when she came across astronaut Mae C. Jemison, the first African American woman in space. Jemison and her accomplishments gave Aminah the inspiration to strive to "one day be as great as her" – and the inspiration stuck with her long after the project was turned in. It led her to participate in science fairs and join her middle school science teacher as a member of her school’s Science Bowl team.
Fast forward a few years: Still following her STEM career dream, Aminah was enrolled as an engineering science major at Camden County Community College when she received an email from her STEM director with her next source of inspiration. That email was an invitation to participate in NASA’s Community College Aerospace Scholars. NCAS is a program that provides students with an authentic NASA experience and encourages them to purse 2 and 4 year degrees in STEM related fields. Students begin with a 5 week course and are then eligible for an onsite experience at a NASA center.
Once the online portion was completed, Aminah was selected to attend the NASA on-site workshop at Johnson Space Center in Houston. The experience allowed her to be a part of a team of like-minded students who shared the same lofty goals.
"My NCAS experience was AMAZING!" Aminah said. "It was very informative and life changing in ways. Many people think that NASA is just engineering, but there are so many more aspects to NASA and building rockets and rovers."
The program impacted Aminah so greatly that she had some words of encouragement to pass along to future NCAS students.
"Take the opportunity and try something new, study hard, and manage your time very wisely," she said. "Don’t be afraid to speak up and make new friends. It’s a super fun experience, and just an awesome time learning new things."