Native American Profiles in STEM

Chris Greenstone

Tribe: Navajo
Occupation: Liaison Engineer, Boeing 767 Wing Structures

How did you become interested in STEM? 

I’ve always been interested in the STEM field. I did not think it was possible at the time because I did see anyone that looked like me achieve what I wanted to do. I looked into different career paths and thought I’d try Engineering. I earned good grades and kept going. Before I knew it, I was close to finishing and I was motivated to finish and make my family proud.

What words of wisdom would you give to students interested in STEM?

I came from a community where achieving a Bachelors degree is rare and I never received any specific advice from anyone; with that being said, I reflect on two sayings I remember to this day: “Do your best.” and “Keep going.” Turns out, those were the best things I could hear at the time. I did my absolute best and I kept going. It took sleepless nights and countless hours of giving my time. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

Anything I would like to share?

Yes, the STEM field isn’t easy; take that from someone who grew up herding goats and chopping wood to burn for warmth. Take that from someone who didn’t immediately know anyone who did what I wanted to do. Keep doing your best and keep going. I received a career offer to work with one of the largest, if not the largest, aerospace company in the world with a science associate’s degree and a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from a public university from a small college town in Arizona. I went for the same career along with others who went to top schools, received a higher GPA than I did, and wore expensive suits to the same job interview. I ended up receiving the offer ten minutes after the interview. Keep going and do your best.

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