As a NASA intern, Kirsi Kuutti relies on grit and determination to power past failure and setbacks. Kirsi found her love for computing and engineering by being on a high school robotics team, and she carried on the passion for her work to the engineering program at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Not only does she enjoy walking along Lake Superior or going with friends to Canal Park, she also spends a lot of time thinking about space.

She now builds critical solar array circuit boards for the International Space Station and provides training to astronauts. Kirsi encourages others not to give up on STEM subjects just because they are difficult. Engineering, and STEM in general, requires having the courage to take chances and having the will to spend a lot of time on a challenging project. Kirsi has experienced failure in her work, but that doesn’t stop her. Failure means that there is opportunity to look at the project in a new way. Kirsi is motivated by the challenges she faces, and that motivation has led her to success at school and at one of the most prestigious organizations in the world. For STEM students like Kirsi, the sky is definitely not the limit. Kirsi inspires others to reach for the stars.

Want to keep the inspiration flowing? Check out additional profiles of Minnesota women in STEM careers.

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SciGirls is TPT’s National Science Foundation-funded program that engages girls (and boys!), families and educators nationwide around science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. By combining an Emmy Award-winning PBS series, multiple websites, hands-on activities and professional development workshops, SciGirls reaches millions on-the-air, online and in communities, inspiring the next generation of STEM superstars.