Learning Undefeated’s STEM Spotlight series features young professionals from diverse backgrounds who are working to make a difference in science, business, medicine, engineering, and technology fields. Each short video includes a profile of the job role and information about how they came to be interested in STEM.
STEM Spotlight, Justin Rice Ph.D.
Senior Development Operations Engineer
Flight Software Systems Branch
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Engineer. Researcher. Educator. Academician. Orator. Comedian. Musician. Justin Rice has been fortunate to do many things and go many places since his humble beginnings in Jackson, Mississippi. He fervently believes that education, hard work, and discipline are the keys to upward social mobility; and he works tirelessly to inspire the next generation to strive for greatness. Currently, Justin is an employee of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He works in the Flight Software Systems Branch as a Flight Software Command & Data Handling Development Engineer on the MUSTANG Avionics Processor Team. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Engineering from Jackson State University and Ph.D. in Engineering from Louisiana Tech University.
When I grew up, I had no idea I’d be doing half the things I would be doing right now.
Here at Goddard, we send satellites to space to take pictures of the moon, sun, stars, earth and different planets. What is cooler than that? Absolutely nothing.
The way I became interested in engineering is because I was always curious about how electronic devices worked. In my very early days I remember taking apart radios, and I would at the different devices, how does amalgamation and components do something when you put them together?
Science is literally for everyone. Personally, I have issues with taking standardized tests. I know several examples of my colleagues who were failing in everything regarding school and somehow, they found a way to say, “this is what I want to do and I’m going to figure out a way to do it”. Dream big. The future can be completely different than what it is now. We could be walking around with anti-gravity suits, that could be a reality if you dream it. Anything and absolutely everything is possible, you need the drive, the determination, and the motivation. That is the best thing about being an engineer, I don’t really know it exists, but maybe I can make it happen.