Rocket Scientist Encourages a Career in STEM

Jacqueline Mims is an empowerment speaker, coach, and author.

Jacqueline Mims is the co-author of Flawed Flesh, Perfect Purpose.

The 2016 movie Hidden Figures highlights the women of color whose meticulous calculations helped the United States catch up to the Soviet Union in the “space race” and send John Glenn into orbit around Earth. But NASA had many such “hidden figures,” and one of the notables is former rocket scientist Jacqueline Mims, the first African American civil servant to be certified as a spacecraft ground controller for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s unmanned spacecraft.

Mims developed an early love affair with NASA, becoming an administrative assistant in NASA’s co-op program while still in high school. After earning a BS cum laude in Computer Science and Business Administration from Towson University, she worked at NASA as an Aerospace Technologist, programming data telemetry processing systems of on-board, in-orbit satellites, which enabled the world to see clear, graphic images of outer space. She later served as a spacecraft controller of Small Explorer satellites.

The new book, Flawed Flesh, Perfect Purpose, is a compilation of thought-provoking and engaging short stories and essays encouraging readers to utilize their fears, setbacks, and failures to propel them toward living a purposeful life.

Mims’s story, Unveiling Your Purpose Isn’t Rocket Science, takes readers on a voyage through the successes and failures of her more than 25 years in the professional fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Mims states, “We must understand that failure is our friend and not our enemy. In life, we will fail often; however, always endeavor to fail forward. In failing forward, your vision is illuminated and your unique purpose is unveiled.”

Mims’s final NASA mission was on the Wide Field Infrared Explorer (WIRE), attempting to determine how stars were formed. She became part of the team that transitioned WIRE satellite operations to the Operations Control Center at Bowie State University, which has given students at the historically black university the tools and credentials necessary for flying satellites.

As a STEM advocate, empowerment speaker, coach, and trainer, Jacqueline Mims is now focusing her energy on helping build a pipeline of qualified minority candidates in the ever-growing global technology sector.

To order the book Flawed Flesh, Perfect Purpose, visit


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