What is This Retired NASA Engineer Doing Now?

Sept. 28, 2022
Wanda Harding is on a mission to help the next generation of STEM leaders navigate their place in the world.

In the final episode of Machine Design’s interview with Wanda Harding, the former NASA engineer pays respect to her mentors before telling us how she is paying it forward by helping the next generation of STEM leaders.

The engineer-turned-teacher talked about some of the “comical questions” students ask once they realize that she left NASA to teach high school. They ask: “Why did you leave? And, why are you here with us?”

Some kids are sophisticated and google a pay scale comparison for NASA engineers and school teachers, Harding said. A typical reaction: “That was really crazy. Why did you do that?”

Harding maintains that she hasn’t regretted the transition into the classroom. She sets all kidding aside when she explains that her STEM background gives her the opportunity to access her own network and expose the next generation to what they will need to be prepared for their place in the world.

Harding is re-releasing her children’s book, When I Consider God’s Amazing Universe, which was first published in 2014.

View Part 1: A NASA Engineer-Turned-Teacher Celebrates 10 Years

View Part 2: Mission to Mars: The Role of the Senior Mission Manager is to Make Tough Calls

Editor’s Note: Machine Design's Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) hub compiles our coverage of gender representation issues affecting the engineering field, in addition to contributions from equity seeking groups and subject matter experts within various subdisciplines.

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