With an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, Sara Rengifo came to the United States from Medellin, Colombia, hoping to start her career. Although she spoke no English and was told time and again that her degree was inconsequential here, she never gave up. Her determination led her to Florida International University in 2013 to pursue a master’s degree in materials science. That move catapulted her to NASA, where today she is an aerospace engineer working in tribology and metrology.
The journey from Medellin to Miami to Marshall Space Flight Center in Hunstville, Alabama, was often rocky. It began when Rengifo, the youngest of three girls, told her accountant parents that she wanted to design machines. “My sisters were very girly, but I was always the one next to my dad fixing things in the house,” she said. “It woke up something inside me. I wanted to understand how things worked.”
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