Meet a young woman who thinks science is "cool." And who knows her Chickasaw heritage is so important.

Meet Abigail McNally, Aerospace Systems at the Northrop Grumman. And truly proud Chickasaw.

Abigail learned of her Chickasaw heritage when she was in junior high school: "I come from a very large family, my dad is the youngest of ten children, and he found out from his brothers and sisters that we were Chickasaw. And they introduced me to the Chickasaw Nation, which was able to give me the building blocks to reach and be so successful to where I'm at today."

It all started with Chickasaw Space Camp when she was 14 years old. That's where she learned more about her Chickasaw heritage and her love of space.

"When I was going through space camp, I remember this picture of John Herrington, the first Native American in space. That's who I wanted to be. I wanted to be someone who could represent people like me, women like me in space. So, I knew I wanted to be an engineer at a very young age, so I applied to get into Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I said if I was going to be an aerospace engineer, I was going to go to the best school for it."

She says the Chickasaw Nation has continued opening doors for her, "I knew I had a passion in safety engineering through the Chickasaw Nation and their internship program, where I was able to work with the National Transportation Safety Board for two years. There, I developed a passion for understanding what happens when planes get into crashes and understanding how we can prevent those types of things." From there, her career took off.

That passion directly led to her job at the Northrop Group and a rewarding career working alongside much older peers, which proves you’re never too young to reach for the stars. "And I think it's part of my story to be able to not only educate people about the Chickasaw culture, but to inspire younger Abbys to reach their dreams."