Talk about career goals: The first black woman to join NASA’s international space station is totally inspiring

One small step for black women. One giant leap for #BlackGirlMagic. In May 2018, Jeanette Epps will become the first African American crew member on the International Space Station. Epps began her journey to become an astronaut at an early age. She told Mashable that she always knew. “It was about 1980, I was nine years old. My brother came home and he looked at my grades and my twin sisters’ grades and he said, “You know, you guys can probably become aerospace engineers or even astronauts,’” Epps said. “And this was at the time that Sally Ride [the first American woman to fly in space] and a group of women were selected to become astronauts — the first time in history. So, he made that comment and I said, ‘Wow, that would be so cool,’” the groundbreaking astronaut added.

She received a bachelor’s degree in physics at LeMoyne College, and then went to the University of Maryland to earn a master’s degree and a doctorate in aerospace engineering. All while working as a fellow with the NASA Graduate Student Researchers Project.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, she went on to work for the CIA as a technical intelligence officer for seven years. Then in 2009 she was accepted into that year’s astronaut class. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Epps is a total bad ass—and is now going to continue her journey into space. Just like the women in Hidden Figures who helped get a man into space, Epps is paving the way for women of color in STEM fields and space exploration.

We can’t wait to follow her mission next year!