Transcripts of Debora_Fairbrother_Women@NASA-MASTER_youtube_hq

My name is Debbie Fairbrother, I'm the Chief of the NASA Balloon Program Office and I am the management structure for the balloon program. (music) I don't know what I wanted to do when I grew up. When I went into college, I liked math and science, so I picked engineering. I didn't know what engineering job could do. My aunt was an engineer so I knew that a female could do engineering. But, I was more just getting tools for my tool box and doing something and I'd enjoyed. I enjoyed the math and I enjoyed the science. I didn't really understand balloons until I was in grad school and some of my fellow students were working on balloon film research. But, I didn't quite understand balloons until I actually got the job. It was at international and realize how unique and enormous and just cool balloons could be. (music) My first day at NASA, I was kind of in shock that I had actually taken the leap to leave Texas, to leave my family and friends and venture out on the eastern shore of Virginia for a job following balloons. So it was nervous, but I knew some of the people I worked with because I had done research for them and so that made me feel a little bit more comfortable and ultimately has become home. (music) In my life my family has been a huge influence. Growing up both sets of grandparents owned small businesses. One owned a small country store and the other a tavern and I remember one pair of my grandparents in their will it said that first thing that their money would go to if they died would put my brother and I through college. So before any money would go to my dad or his sisters they wanted to make sure we had an education. Understanding that education was so important to them really instilled in us how important it was to do well in school and to get our degrees. The great barrier I had to overcome was, going out of my comfort zone. Sometimes change is not easy, so the decision to leave Texas and take a job at Wallops was kind of taken me out of my comfort zone. My decision to apply for the chief position took me out of my comfort zone and sometimes you need to push yourself and its amazing what you could do. (music) My greatest accomplishment is being part of the super pressure balloon team. So, the super pressure balloon is kind of the next generation balloon development and any research and development we've had our highs and our lows. So, getting through the lows and understanding what happen when you had a failure or anomaly and being able to fix it and move on, has been very rewarding. It's frustrating but rewarding. We went to Antarctica back in 2009 with a balloon and we launched it and went up to float and it failed. So, here you're half way around the world it's right around Christmas time and you got to regroup and investigate and try to find out why did this balloon fail, so you can move the project forward. (music) The advice that I would pass on to the next generation is to find something you like to do. If you work hard and enjoy what you do. It makes things so much easier. I typically like going to work. I mean there are some days when you got meetings or reviews that you dread going to. But I enjoy what I do. I light up when I get to talk about balloons. I enjoy going the travel and doing that. So, if they are doing something that they are not enjoying, find something else. Because you've got to have it in your heart, you want to do this. It will make life so much easier and so much happier. (music) (music) (music) end