Episode: Taking Chances

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STEM Field of Dreams
Episode: Taking Chances
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In this inspiring episode, Joshua John, a member of the Navajo Nation, senior systems engineer at Raytheon, and board member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, imparts his career journey from Shiprock, New Mexico to a leading aerospace engineering company. Joshua introduces himself through his four traditional clans: the Folded Arms Clan, the Apache Clan, the Mexican Clan, and the Bear Enemies Clan, setting the stage for a conversation that intertwines cultural identity with engineering aspiration.

Joshua shares his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, sparked by a fascination with the stars and aerospace, nurtured under the vast skies of the Navajo reservation. He discusses the influential role of his parents, his journey through education, and the crucial decision points that shaped his career. Joshua reflects on the importance of taking chances and embracing opportunities.

Joshua relates a challenging professional situation that tested his leadership skills and ethics. His story is a powerful reminder of the importance of integrity, courage, and the sometimes uncomfortable obligation to lead by example and address inadequacies within a team dynamic, even when confronting superiors.

Closing with advice for those just starting their careers, Joshua emphasizes the significance of being open to possibilities, the willingness to take risks, and the importance of being a good listener and a proactive team member. His journey is not just a tale of personal achievement but a beacon of inspiration for aspiring scientists and engineers from all backgrounds.