Higher Orbits is over the moon to introduce one of our newest elected Board of Directors Members, Victoria Mechtly. As a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, Victoria is incredibly passionate about STEM outreach and access for Indigenous communities. Victoria is also an architecture, engineering, and construction (A/E/C) business and marketing professional for RS&H. She recognizes the importance of organizations like Higher Orbits for future business development.
I had the chance to interview Victoria and hear more about what gets her #SpaceInspired to be a Board Member for Higher Orbits.
Katy Thompson: What Inspires you to serve as a Board of Directors Member for Higher Orbits?
Victoria Mechtly: Well, Michelle. Her passion is infectious. Also, to be honest, I would love to see more native students and Indigenous students pursuing STEM careers. I think this is a great organization that highlights that early on in a child’s life, to give them that inspiration and the opportunities to engage with professionals. That is really the big thing for me. There is a level of exposure that Michelle has brought with Higher Orbits, that a lot of organizations don’t have, and I just want to do what I can to bring that into Indigenous communities.
KT: That is incredible, and that actually bridges us into my next question. It is clear you are a huge advocate for STEM support in those communities and I was just wondering about your previous experience with Higher Orbits and if you could talk a little bit about how our organization impacts you as a Board of Directors Member?
VM: The biggest challenge has been getting resources and information to those young students. I think it just comes down to bridging the gaps. That is what exists right now and that is what I have seen, so that’s what I hope to change.
I met Michelle at NASS (North American Space Summit) right after Space Symposium in August, and I hadn’t heard of Higher Orbits. I recalled seeing the name listed as one of the benefactors of Blue Origin’s Club for the Future grant. Then I met her and dug into it, and just really was amazed at the number of resources she has been able to organize and the amount of input and participation from the aerospace industry, specifically space. When I saw what she was doing in the places she was going, I immediately thought, ‘I want to see how we can get more Indigenous communities involved and engaged.’
That is what I want to contribute. To broaden that reach and not just from the Indigenous community side but also from the federal side because federal space and commercial space are going to continue to overlap. We need people and that is going to continue to be a strong need. Organizations like Higher Orbits are going to need that elevated platform. It is because of Higher Orbits that you have those future engineers, space architects, and future space environmentalist whenever they come up with that term. That is the kind of thing I see now, and I want to do what I can to contribute to it.
KT: Absolutely. Very well said and we are so excited to have that passion on our Board of Directors.
This last question is a fun one… if shipping and packaging was not an issue, what three things would you bring if you were traveling to Mars tomorrow?
1. Her cat
My laptop with all my movies and books…
3. Paint Supplies
I would just want to paint, read books, and watch movies with my cat!
We are thrilled to have Victoria join our Board of Directors. Her passion and drive to make STEM available to more students is inspiring and a valuable asset to our board.