By Kendall McGee | April 27, 2021 at 6:07 PM EDT – Updated April 28 at 8:18 AM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – A woman from Brunswick County is on the team that handled the latest rocket launch at NASA.
Shaneequa Vereen is from Bolivia, but lives in Houston now, where she has been providing live coverage of the missions sending astronauts to the International Space Station.
Vereen never thought she’d be wearing a headset doing live coverage of rocket launches, but she’s already tackled major live events like the November 2020 launch and last week’s mission to the international space station.
Most of her day-to-day duties are writing up releases and handling media requests in the public affairs office, but she’s also scheduled to talk us through the unlocking and splash down later this week.
“NASA has never been in my head, like I’ve never been that rocket girl saying ‘I’ve always dreamed of NASA;’ that’s never been me,” explained Vereen. “I didn’t know it was a thing to do. It wasn’t a thing I knew I could do, so I want to try and expose as many people to NASA as I can.”
Vereen started with NASA as a grad student, working in the public affairs office and found her voice covering dockings and small operations before she had the opportunity to cover the big launches on the live stream.
“With live mission coverage, I’d say it’s a lot of studying. People don’t realize you don’t just go on there and start talking; you need to know about the spacecraft, you need to know about the people on board,” said Vereen.
As a public affairs officer, she spends most of her days writing about what’s happening behind the scenes, but she admits the best part of the job is meeting incredible people and being on the front lines of history.
“It’s bigger than you. What they’re doing on the International Space Station, on Mars with the rover — it’s beyond Earth — it’s beyond me. It’s bigger because it has a larger impact on the world.”
She’s hoping her story lights a fire in little girls like her, and inspires everyone to chase their dreams.
“As a brown person, a Black woman, there was not a lot of people that look like me that are on TV for NASA, and so I want the little girls back at home and across the world to say, ‘Wow, her name is Shaneequa, she’s a black woman and she works for NASA.’ It’s bigger than me. I want them to know you can do this too.”
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