High Hopes: Teen dreams of career in rocket science

Dansil Green, 15

City: Granite Falls

Program: ShopGirls, Granite Falls High School’s all-girl eco-car team

Q: How did you come to enroll in this program? What skill are you hoping to acquire?

A: Last year, while the team was out at the Bonneville (Salt Flats), I saw their flier around the school and two years previous, in the summer, I had done the mini-eco-car camp and I knew that was really fun. I sent an email to the teacher, Mr. (Michael) Werner. He had me come in and I talked to him and got my application and filled it all out and showed my parents that I scheduled an interview.

I’m team manager this year. We want to renovate our car right now and then build a new car over the next two years.

I think mostly the ShopGirl thing is about doing the hands-on stuff. I’d never done the hands-on stuff, and I know I need that for working. Making parts and actually learning how to use math to make the parts is one example of that.

Q: What would you like to do after you earn your high school degree?

A: After high school, I want to go to college. Maybe in college I can get a job doing research for a company. I’d like to go to either MIT or Purdue University. They both have really good programs. MIT has a really good engineering program and Purdue has a lot to do with space and astronomics.

I’ve had different thoughts of jobs, but I’ve recently thinking more about engineering. I like engineering, and math is one of my favorite subjects. I want to be an aerospace engineer, but I want to do more with the space side. I’ve always been interested in space and rockets. I’d like to work on rockets.

Q: What would you like to be doing in five or 10 years?

A: Hopefully I’ll be going to one of those schools in five years and in 10, I’d like to get my doctorate degree. I might still be in school in 10 years, but maybe I’ll have a job. My doctorate would be in aerospace engineering, or I guess you could call it rocket science. I don’t know yet what my bachelor’s degree would be in. Math, maybe astronomy, but I don’t know.

Q: Do you follow Boeing in the news? How do you feel about the company’s prospects?

A: My dad works for Boeing as a functional test technician. He brought home the Frontiers magazine, and I didn’t know this but it was talking about how Boeing has a space engineering sector and I thought, “That’s pretty interesting. Maybe I’ll work for them someday.” I think Boeing’s prospects are good. I know they’ve been down on sticking to timelines, but their new materials and other things they’re trying to do are awesome. I’d either like to work for them or maybe a private space company. I know about Planetary Resources and that they’re trying to mine the asteroids. I think it would be great to work with them. They’re looking for college interns, but maybe they’ll let a high school intern work over the summer.

Q: Would you be willing to relocate to get the right job, or would you prefer to stay in the Puget Sound area?

A: I would definitely be willing to relocate. I love to travel. I think I’d kind of like to go out of the area.

Q: When did you first travel by air, and where did you go?

A: I’ve always traveled by air, since I was a little kid. My dad worked for a different company before Boeing and they would give him tickets, and my mom and dad would put me in their lap. So I don’t remember my first trip. The last trip I took was with the Eco-Car Team to Houston in April.

Q: What will transportation be like in 50 years?

A: There will probably be even more-fuel-efficient airplanes. I don’t know if it will happen, but I get Popular Science magazine and one of their articles was on blimps. I really love blimps and have always been interested in them. It talked about how the military is trying to use them so I hope that some day in the future we can use blimps more. Blimp travel. You can make them faster. That’d also be an exciting thing to work on.

Learn more: Granite Falls High School ShopGirls

An extracurricular program started in 2009 at Granite Falls High School. ShopGirls is part of the schools EcoTeam program in which the students design and build fuel-efficient cars and learn manufacturing and design principles. They compete with the cars they build.

Website: live.gfalls.wednet.edu/ecoteams

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