As a little girl growing up in Northeast Ohio, Joselyn Rabbitt loved gazing up at the stars. Now, the Olmsted Falls native and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University senior has become one of 250 people selected to serve in the United States Space Force. The newest branch of the military defends U.S. interests in space. After graduation, Rabbitt will serve as a space operations officer working with satellite systems, space surveillance and mission control. Hard work and dedication have landed Rabbitt among the stars. “To be one of the original members of Space Force — that’s really special and not something everyone gets to do,” she says. We talk with Rabbitt about her love of science, who inspires her and more.
Did growing up in Northeast Ohio prepare you to join Space Force?
A. Yes. Especially going down [Interstate] 480 and driving past NASA Glenn Research Center. I didn’t think I’d be going into the military as a kid — I always thought I’d be working at NASA. I ended up interning at NASA Glenn the summer after my freshman year. They led me in the right direction and helped me discover what I want to do.
Who inspires you?
A. Both my parents. My dad is an electrical engineer, so we were always building stuff and helping him fix things. My mom liked looking at the stars and taking me to see meteor showers. They’re the reason I’m in this career field. I love that I could take something from both of them. I think they see that and they’re very proud of me.
Q. Women are underrepresented in military and STEM fields. How does it feel to be a young woman beginning a military and science-related career right now?
A. I think it’s amazing. You know, being a girl in STEM isn’t anything new to me. What I’ve always tried to do is be myself and not worry about what everyone else says. I want to inspire other young girls to chase their dreams, too. If they want to go into STEM career fields or the military, I want to show they can do that.
Q. Many people have heard of Space Force but may not understand its mission. How do you explain Space Force? A. It’s a very specialized branch of the military. Everyone’s trying to go into space right now. And the Air Force is taking on air and cyberspace, as well as space — that’s a lot of different domains they’re working in. That’s why they thought it was best to break off the space domain into its own branch.