Dana Bolles working at a desk

Dana's Story (she/her)

I am bi, and I am a Spaceflight Engineer and Science Communicator.

I grew up in Southern California, and I earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1993. My first job introduced me to the space industry, where I have been working for more than 25 years. Throughout my career, I’ve worked at four different installations, and I am currently working in Washington, D.C.

In my first job, I worked in payload safety, ensuring that the operations on spacecraft were safe for the people working around it and the facilities. I also worked for many years in environmental compliance, managing programs in air quality, hazardous materials storage, and industrial wastewater discharges. This was a very challenging job (the Bay Area has the most stringent regulations in the whole country), but it was a very rewarding job, as I was and always will be committed to protecting the environment. Another job I really enjoyed was with a program that focuses on minimizing risks to humans in space. I managed risks and learned a lot about what we need to consider as we go further into space. Now, I work in science communications, managing a website with the goal of getting our science out to the widest possible audience.

In almost any type of job, I would say that more and more, people are finally realizing the importance of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility.I’ve lived my whole life outside of the status quo on almost every level. I am a queer, disabled, woman of color, half Asian and half Latina. Though I have lots of intersectionalities, people by far respond most to my disability, and sadly, disabled people are often considered to be either asexual, or it's thought they shouldn't be having sex. Our desires and need for connections with others to build families and strong social networks are just as strong as those without disabilities. Some of us have a greater need while others, maybe not so much. But this is true of the non-disabled community as well. I look at each day as a chance to break down barriers and stereotypes that people hold about us.