From Hoop Dreams to Engineering Success
Ball Was Life
Most people don't know this, but Dajae earned her way to college through a full-ride basketball scholarship. "Dedicated" was an understatement. Every life decision revolved around the game.
She made certain, though, that no matter the pressure basketball caused education came first. This passion for learning exposed Dajae to the dopeness of Science and Technology. She eventually left her basketball scholarship on the table, after receiving an internship offer from Anheuser-Busch. Her coach wouldn't allow her to do both.
Unfortunately, Dajae was forced to go back home after her internship because there was no scholarship for her to return to. She was devastated and felt like a failure. But what seemed like a step backward, was actually the best decision of her life. She received a basketball scholarship from a local community college, where she was able to focus more on engineering. That changed everything.
Dajae continued to excel academically, and felt she had gained enough knowledge to intern again. This time around, Dajae received many "no's" from companies. She didn't let that stop her though. Her persistence led her to back to back internships at two of the best companies in the world. She spent summer '15 in Waterloo, IA at John Deere and the following semester at Toyota in Erlanger, KY.
Life eventually came full circle and Dajae's internships afforded her the opportunity to return to the very campus she was forced to leave. She became the president of the Missouri S&T National Society of Black Engineers and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Mama I Made It
After returning, Dajae reached one of her biggest goals ever...working for a tech company in Silicon Valley. She received an offer from Apple inc, one of the many companies that initially turned her away. Dajae describes this accomplishment as her version of landing a record deal. Yes, it was THAT BIG. And less than a year later, that internship put her on NASA JPL's Radar...where she interned the following summer.
The Finish Line
After a successful internship at NASA JPL, it was time for Dajae to graduate. Dajae graduated in December '17 with honors and was even selected to give Missouri S&T's FIRST EVER student commencement speech.
Fresh out of college, Dajae embarked on a new journey as a manufacturing engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She has recently transition into a quality engineer, where she is relied upon to inspect mechanical and electrical hardware. Dajae is working on her 3rd year at the lab and continues to learn something new every day.
Dajae has experienced much success in the STEM field and one thing that remains consistent is the lack of diversity and representation. To fight this, Dajae has made it her life's mission to expose as many students to S.T.E.M as she can. She does this through hip hop and the music WILL leave you with no choice but to dance. Dajae plans to take this music mainstream under her braind "Listen Up Education". Tell Kidz Bop and Disney to watch out!