Sabrina Thompson is a NASA engineer and the founder of the Girl in Space Club streetwear brand. She founded the club in order to increase the number of female STEM students. Despite an increase in the number of women in science and mathematics in recent years, women remain underrepresented in STEM fields, particularly in space science.
According to the United Nations, the number of women in the international space industry has dropped by 20%, with only 11% of astronauts being female. Thompson’s childhood ambitions did not include a career in STEM. Her ambition was to become a fashion designer and an artist. Her ambition shifted when it came time to choose a college program during her senior year of high school.
“I was valedictorian of my class, yet everyone knew where they wanted to go to college except for me,” she told CNBC Make It. “My art teacher was the one who helped me out and suggested, ‘Why don’t you try engineering?’”
According to CNBC Make It, she eventually settled on engineering after concluding that it would be the ideal marriage of her love of art and her mathematical prowess. She earned her bachelor’s degree in engineering at Stony Brook and her master’s degree in aerospace engineering at George Tech.
She joined NASA in 2010 and has spent the last 12 years designing orbit trajectories for space missions. Despite her hectic schedule, she found time for her first love: art. Her love of the arts combined with her knowledge of engineering inspired her to found the Girl in Space Club, with the goal of making STEM “fun and fashionable” for future generations.
Thompson and her team are working on a spacesuit for women. She is currently speaking with investors to raise funds for the project and hopes to raise $75,000 through a Kickstarter campaign launched in October.
The space suit for women will be the club’s most ambitious project. She and her team are currently researching which technologies to use to create their own pressurized space suit. They are also looking into how to create designs that can be used with a variety of launch vehicles.