While experts tout the benefits of female role models for women studying in the field, students should not discount the advice and guidance of male mentors.
Flanigan, the Virginia Tech alumna, credits a former professor – Chris Hall – as one of the biggest influences on her career. Hall recruited her to work in his space simulation lab and tasked her with leading his introductory engineering courses when he was traveling.
Perhaps most importantly, he talked to her about what she wanted to do after college and pushed her to take the steps she needed to get there, she says.
Flanigan now works in what she calls her "dream job," guiding NASA spacecraft as an aerospace engineer for the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland.
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