I saw Angels in the Sky

by Jasmine Smith

You might say my passion for flight grew from an accident. I was mistakenly placed in my high school aerospace class. We had the chance to show off our school’s engineering program at the Blue Angels Air Show that year, and I’ll never forget the way those planes took to the sky. Against all odds, giant metal vessels–Blue Angels–soared with ease, painting pictures in the clouds. The show culminated in a riveting WWII reenactment that captured my heart and attention, and it was at that moment where my dream of one day piloting a plane took flight. I could be a part of history, of something bigger than myself.

Today, my dream is becoming a reality as I work toward attaining my Private Pilot’s License at Tuskegee University. As a Mechanical Engineering major, I’m working toward one day becoming a flight test engineer in the Air Force and possibly becoming a test pilot in the commercial space industry after my service.

Ever since that fateful aerospace class in high school, I’ve been fascinated with astronomy and space. I am currently president of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) organization at Tuskegee. I fed my appetite for the galaxy and all her mystery when I interned at Mojave Air and Space Port back in 2017, and I’ll continue following in those steps this summer where I will intern for NASA’ Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Along with that internship, I’ll also begin field training as an Air Force ROTC cadet.

I know my aspirations are high, but they’re not unattainable. My workload might seem like too much for a mere sophomore in college, but the path my life has taken is a testimony to the grit and discipline required to carry on the Tuskegee legacy. I’m learning that doing what I love here at Tuskegee is a cocktail of passion, discipline and a commitment to being a positive influencer to those who follow me. I couldn’t make that possible if not for being a recipient of the Red Tail Scholarship Foundation.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to make my own mark in history. Thank you for giving me the gift of curiosity– for space, for flying, for growing.