When Rochelle Miller was planning for college, science was nowhere in her mind. However, God used changed plans to lead her to a position at NASA, where she worked as a computer programmer for the space station.
What is your background in science?
In 1994 I got a computer information degree from the University of Houston. From there, I worked as a computer programmer writing software for NASA down at the Space Center in Houston. I don’t even know if it was ever implemented, but it was called PDAC – Procedures Document and Control. It was a kind of document organizational application that was going to help with the space station. The building I worked at was near Mission Control, so we got the opportunity to go over there and see it.
What interested you in computer programming and information?
I actually wanted to be an architect, but the only school nearby with an architecture program was in a bad area of town. I started looking into other options and took some classes in computer programming, which I actually really enjoyed because they involved design and allowed me to be creative.
You didn’t necessarily have a traditional trajectory towards pursuing the sciences. In high school, could you have imagined yourself working at NASA?
No, not at all, because I was always so interested in architecture. I originally made the choice for computer programming based on convenience and then ended up really liking it. Looking back, it’s cool to see how there was an obstacle in my way that made me take a weird detour I never would’ve thought of.
Based on your experience, how would you encourage students who may not know what kind of career they want to pursue?
I think a lesson from my life is that you can’t really predict where you’ll actually end up, and I think you kind of have to be open. As long as you’re moving forward, I feel like your path will become clear. Go after whatever you’re interested in, and then see where you end up. God didn’t design our lives for us to know to every step, because that’s how we walk in faith and trust and follow him.