When she isn’t working to launch rockets at the Boeing Company, Nathalie Quintero is working to inspire young people to take on careers in the aerospace industry. In 2020, she created “STEM for Aerospace,” a campaign on social media platforms to educate Latinos people about her industry in hopes that they’ll follow in her footsteps.
What do you do today?
As the Core Stage Launch Operations and Test lead, my role is to plan, manage and integrate a multi-disciplinary team for the execution of shipside and integrated test operations during final assembly and launch of the Space Launch Systems (SLS) rocket at Kennedy Space Center.
What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?
The launch of the Artemis-1 Space Launch Systems (SLS) rocket, and all the integrated tests we performed to make sure the rocket was ready to launch.
What is your greatest personal accomplishment to date?
Greatest personal accomplishment is to have visited forty-two countries prior to turning thirty, to include three Wonders of the World: Chichen Itza (Mexico), Machu Picchu (Peru) and Petra (Jordan).
How do you tackle problems and overcome challenges?
To overcome challenges/problems, I list the problems and potential solutions, sometimes consulting with family and mentors to provide their insight before I make a decision on how to overcome challenges.
What do you do today to impact your community?
My impact to the community, specially the Hispanic/Latino community, is made possible through my social media platform “STEM for Aerospace.” I created this online bilingual personal STEM project during the pandemic in 2020 to inspire the youth interested in the aerospace industry. I create educational content through social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) in both English and Spanish, as well as outreach to schools, colleges, and nonprofits STEM organizations with the USA and Latin America both in-person and virtually.
In addition, I volunteer with Boeing in the Meals on Wheels Organization delivering meals to low-income elderly community of Titusville, Brevard County. I’m actively involved with professional engineering societies such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) by providing career-advice to college students, doing speaking engagements and volunteering at local universities such as University of Central Florida, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Florida Institute of Technology.
At work, I’m part of the REACH Advisory Board, which is a Boeing organization focused on developing entry-level/junior employees. I believe in giving back to the community and inspiring like-minded individuals with similar career paths/aspirations.
Describe yourself in five words.
Humble, passionate, perfectionist, goal-oriented, and perseverant.
What are your future goals?
Future goals are to get my private pilot’s license, leadership position as part of my career growth and someday become a Launch Director or go to space.
What is your favorite form of self-care?
My favorite form of self-care is watching international film or series based on true-life stories, dance (salsa, bachata, and merengue), and travel to know new places both natural and cities with different cultures.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?
When I’m not working, I love to dance flamenco (spanish dance). I’ve danced flamenco since I was a little girl in Venezuela. When I immigrated to the United States, I put this hobby on pause during my college years. After graduating, I was able to find a local flamenco dance studio near Orlando, and I’ve been part of this academy since 2016. I’ve been part of two theater dance productions for Carmen and an adaptation of Dracula. Dance allows me to relieve the stress from work and pursue my artistic side.
Other fun things I like to do is spend time with friends, discover new restaurants/local spots to eat, go to theater plays or the movies, and travel locally or internationally to get to know new places and cultures.
What does making NextGen Collective’s 30 Under 30 list mean to you?
I feel honored to have been nominated and chosen to be part of this year’s Next Gen Collective’s 30 Under 30 alongside other fellow honorees.
What is your personal theme song?
“Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
What is your Latino background?
I am Venezuelan-Salvadorean American. I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. My mom is Salvadorean from Ahuachapan, El Salvador, and my dad is from San Cristobal, Venezuela. I came to the US when I was seventeen years old to study aerospace engineering in college and to better my career opportunities.
Editor‘s note: This Q&A has been edited for clarity.