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Womens History Month - Desiray Wilson

March 28, 2023 SSAI in the News

by Jaha Knight

As we continue our Women’s History Month celebration, we would like to highlight Scientific Programmer, Desiray Wilson. 
Desiray is a Scientific Programmer on the My NASA Data team, where she specializes in developing interactive NASA Earth Science data visualizations for grades 3-12. She obtained her B.S. in Geology and minor in Geospatial Technology from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Prior to joining SSAI, Desiray was an intern on the My NASA Data project through NASA’s internship program which led her to her current position with our SSAI family! 
Wilson is early in career as she graduated college in 2019 right before the pandemic.
“I was always drawn to a career path that offered continuous learning,” Wilson reflected. “While in undergrad studying Geology, I was required to take a class on Geographic Information Sciences (GIS). Through this class I was introduced to principles in remote sensing, data science and data visualization. I became fascinated with data and its potential to transform the ways in which we can bring awareness to Earth Science and the environment,” Wilson said as she reflected on what inspired her to choose her career path. 
Though Desiray acknowledges that there are still challenges in women being underrepresented in STEM, she also believes that there are many benefits to choosing this career path! 
“Being a woman in STEM means that you could bring your unique perspectives and ideas to the industry and broaden the viewpoints and areas explored in STEM. This career path offers continuous learning and the ability to make positive changes in society,” Wilson said.
NASA offers petabytes of global Earth science data collected from satellites but accessing these data in a traditional (or virtual) science classroom can be tricky. Since 2004, My NASA Data has supported students and teachers of grades 3-12 in analyzing and interpreting NASA mission data ( 
One of Desiray’s favorite projects thus far has been developing interactive lesson plans on the My NASA Data team.
“This is my favorite project because it involves science, technology, and creativity, and contributes to science education,” Wilson said.
“I hope that my work can impact the next generation of STEM professionals.
She offers the encouraging advice to any young women interested in STEM to,
“Identify professionals whose work you admire and learn as much as you can from them. Ask them about their experiences, challenges, and things that helped them in their career journey, and don’t be afraid to seek out advice when you need it,” Wilson offered. 
We appreciate young and fresh mindsets like Desiray and we encourage you to explore our internship opportunities which could lead you down the same path as Desiray. When she is not putting together lesson plans through My NASA Data, Desiray can be found studying as she is currently pursuing her M.S. in Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) Technology from the University of Arizona and is expected to graduate in May 2023. 
We encourage you to read about our previous highlight, Dr. Anges Pasco Conaty, PhD, check out our Instagram for more video women’s history content, and invite you to check out our page tomorrow for our next women’s history month highlight!