In describing her path from Mableton, Georgia, to working on NASA’s Space Launch System, Tiera Fletcher ’17 confesses to having a case of imposter syndrome. After a high school career full of honors and accolades, she arrived at MIT filled with hesitation. “The grades started coming in, and I thought maybe I needed to move back to Georgia,” she says.
Then Fletcher got a tip from a fellow student to study in Barker Library. “I end up walking into this beautiful space; the architecture was amazing,” she says. “I look at the ceiling, and the hesitation kind of leaves my body, because I realize that I have been placed in this amazing space, so I must be OK, academically.”
That moment changed the trajectory of Fletcher’s academic career, she told an audience of MIT Libraries staff in Bartos Theater on June 13 in a keynote speech for a recent staff conference. Currently the modernizations program manager and site project engineer at the Boeing Company, Fletcher shared the forces that propelled her to a career in aerospace engineering. Her talk culminated with video of the November 2022 launch of Artemis I, NASA’s uncrewed mission beyond the moon and back. Fletcher led the team conducting the functional and physical configuration audits of the rocket.
“Tiera’s talk really drove home the idea of defining your purpose,” says MIT Libraries Director Chris Bourg. “It was our hope to bring library staff together through a shared sense of purpose — ensuring open and equitable access to knowledge. Hearing how our work, our staff, and even our spaces can have an impact on someone like Tiera was so energizing.”