Daring mighty things: Baylor’s Young Alum of the Year leads at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab
As a child growing up in Nebraska, Richa Sirohi (BS ’18) never imagined she would pursue a career in space exploration — but a few signs were already there.
Naturally curious, the daughter of immigrants found herself intrigued by how different technologies worked, and enjoyed building with Legos. In eighth grade, Sirohi was given the assignment to present on a planet; not satisfied with just one, she covered them all, and made an accompanying illustrated book by hand.
From there, she was all-in. Eventually, Sirohi came to Baylor as a mechanical engineering major. A SpaceX engineer who spoke in class made an impact, and she further immersed herself in aerospace and engineering. She eventually landed a summer internship and then a full-time job at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Today, Sirohi serves as an end-to-end information systems engineer at the Jet Propulsion Lab, working on a project called NISAR — a spacecraft that utilizes radar imaging to understand how the Earth is changing. The work has implications for climate science, resource management, and more back on Earth.
“(This work is) about enabling our understanding and being a part of the scientific endeavor,” Sirohi says. “That impact it is a very big part of why I wanted to pursue a career in aerospace, because the implications on human life are actually vast and meaningful.”
Earlier this year, Sirohi was honored as Baylor’s Young Alumna of the Year. Her professional endeavors speak for themselves, but she goes further by intentionally investing in students — at Baylor and other institutions across the country — and she hopes others will be inspired to follow in her footsteps.
“I like to be a young woman’s definition about what a scientist or engineer can look like,” Sirohi says. “As a woman in STEM … in a male-dominated field that doesn’t have a lot of South Asian-Americans, especially in aerospace, I’ve reached a point where you can see yourself in me. You can achieve these things, and there is support for you.”
Sic ’em, Richa Sirohi!