Our future depends on exploring how science and technology can make our lives, our planet and our universe better. As Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology students you have embraced this responsibility, and Teknos is a testament to your vision, curiosity and accomplishments. I am very pleased to introduce the 2018 edition of this entirely student-driven body of work.
The mere existence of this publication is evidence that a community’s strong focus on engaging young people in technology will drive positive results and I applaud the efforts of everyone who has contributed to the mission at Thomas Jefferson High School: students, parents, families, educators, counselors, mentors and community leaders. Inciting the passion in young people for engineering, math and science is imperative for leadership in innovation. To do this, we must connect all of our young people with role models, enhance their understanding of what is possible, provide them with excellent mentors, teachers and counselors, and engage them with interesting challenges. The key is finding what excites them and connect them to opportunities in those areas. My belief in this is very personal as these were critical factors in my own trajectory.
I might not be an engineer if it wasn’t for my mother, who saw and nurtured my interest in this area over many years. When I was in third grade, I asked her how a car worked. She was an artist, so she bought me a book on the topic that I eagerly read. She took me to a Society of Women Engineers event at a nearby college campus. At that event, I discovered a role model when a fashionable and well-spoken female mechanical engineer on the panel shared her story. I was intrigued with the work she was doing as an entrepreneur in green construction and renewable energy. I decided to become a mechanical engineer then and there. After studying mechanical engineering at Northwestern University, I entered the automotive industry, and ultimately found my way to the aerospace industry and to SpaceX. Now, in my role as President and Chief Operating Officer, my job is in large part to be a problem solver: sometimes engineering challenges and sometimes people challenges.
At SpaceX, we are innovating and solving really hard problems in areas fundamental to our daily lives – communication, transportation and striving to enable a spacefaring civilization. This necessitates leveraging the ideas, approaches, perspectives, experience, and know-how of our entire workforce with their diverse backgrounds. Employees who do not look, talk or think the same dramatically reduces conformity, which is the bane of innovative thinking. To believe that In we can achieve great things with a homogeneous workforce ignores common sense. Diversity makes us better. We would be delighted if, in the not too distant future, some of the very students represented in this journal join us in this work.
I thank you for producing this remarkable body of work and everyone that encouraged and supported you along the way. As you continue with your education, follow your passion and begin your careers, continue to be exceptional. Savor the successes represented in the work in this publication, and use that to drive you in the future to accomplish even more and even greater things.
In Awe of You,
President and Chief Operating Officer