Whether Joree Sandin chooses a career working on rockets or developing prosthetics, she's certain of one thing. "I just want to help people," she says. "That's what I want to do with my career at the end of the day."

A senior mechanical engineering major at South Dakota Mines, Sandin grew up in Greeley, Colo., dreaming of a career in space exploration. "I wanted to be an aerospace engineer because I love space," she says. "Stargazing is one of my favorite things to do." 

Initially she planned to study aerospace engineering in college, but when she learned that aerospace degrees could be extremely expensive she chose mechanical engineering, an engineering field that also works in the aerospace field.  

Her passion for space has prompted her to get involved with multiple space-related clubs and events on campus, including serving as the president and team lead of the Moonrockers robotics team, where students build robots to compete in the annual NASA's Robotic Mining Competition.

As a woman in a largely male-dominated major, Sandin is often one of only two or three female students in her classes. That's made her involvement in the school's WiSE program even more important to her. She herself had a WiSE mentor as a freshman - an older female student to guide her and offer support. Her senior year, Sandin decided to become a WiSE mentor herself. "I decided I really wanted to give back to the program," she says. "Mentorship is so important. If I didn't have the mentors and advisors I had, I don't think I would have made it."