A Conversation With American Author, Speaker and Rocket Scientist, Olympia LePoint
Olympia LePoint is an award-winning NASA rocket scientist, author, TED Talk speaker, and journalist. Most recently, Olympia created a human decision-making scientific theory called Quantum Deciding, revealing the secret science to achieve your best future.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in science and
OL: I believe science and technology are powerful tools that give answers to life’s most pressing situations. As a result, I built my AnswersUnleashed.com platform around finding answers, and it is based on my personal story of where science and faith meet.
At the age of 6, I went to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where I saw rocket engines, and I told myself that I would be a rocket scientist. I did not know the challenges I would face as a woman of color entering the field with men. I did not know the challenges I would face in educating myself for this mission.
I am a scientist who prays to God for answers. Everyone handles life differently; prayer shows me how science can answer problems and the methods to use science and technology ethically to help people in life-changing ways. I know that may sound strange to some. For my friends and supporters, they know it is my gift. I turn to God for answers, and the solutions that come are in the forms of math and science. With this approach, and after a tough ordeal growing up, I helped build a career which started with rockets and continued with books and live lectures. I helped build innovative NASA engineering and technology solutions that we have successfully flown to space in 28 NASA Space Shuttle Missions. I have also created a science educational book series, Answers Unleashed. Through challenges, I witness that God shows people like me how to improve lives using STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).
This philosophy started in my youth. While I was growing up, I literally struggled to stay alive. I speak about my experience in my TEDx talk, “Reprogramming Your Brain to Overcome Fear,” and in my episode on the TV show “Impact Theory.”
I was raised in South Central Los Angeles in the 1980s in the middle of gang violence and the crack cocaine epidemic. Next door to my childhood home was a crack house, and I would see drug addicts light up their drugs out of my bedroom window. I knew what I was seeing was mentally sick, and I knew that I needed to heal myself from what I was seeing. I prayed to God for help: To help my mom, to help me, and to help people realize they had a choice and could turn to a better future.
My prayers gave me the answers to change my thinking, pursue an education, and generate a better future for myself. Math and theater were the two subjects I loved most in school.
Math was the career choice where I would be able to eventually pursue my dream of being a rocket scientist. After failing algebra, geometry, calculus, and chemistry, I received help from a teacher. With encouragement, I decided to pursue a university degree in mathematics.
Under Affirmative Action, I entered California State University Northridge, where I worked hard to compete with the other male students as a math major. At my university in the early 1990s, I remember being the only young woman in my math classes. I was determined to be the top performer. I told myself that I would be a woman to break barriers in STEM for the rest of my life. I was later one of the top five students in a 6,500 graduating class with the Karen, Leo, and Rita Saulter Memorial Award.
For me, math and science were the answers that God provided to me. Later, while writing my second book, I discovered that learning math and science helped rewire, reconnect, and reprogram my brain’s frontal lobes.
While at California State University Northridge, I studied under award-winning math professors Dr. Mark Schilling and Dr. Michael Neubauer. Dr. Magnheld Lien also helped me enter graduate school in mathematics, where I earned a master’s degree in applied mathematics. I also became a Notable Alumni and won the 2003 National Engineer of the Year “Modern Day Technology Leader” Award.
Since then, I have won several awards. I won the 2023 Top 100 Women of the Future “Emerging Technology Leader” Award, the 2023 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books IRWIN Award “Most Influential Science Book Series,” the 2017 Rotary International Business Executive Leadership Award “Paul Harris Fellow,” and the 2003 National Engineer of the Year “Modern Day Technology Leader” Award.
By studying STEM, I was able to educate myself and change my future. The logic I learned helped me rewire my brain to overcome my fears. It still helps me reprogram my mind today. As a result, I help others do the same in my Answers Unleashed book series. I help K-12 Students, college students, and STEM professionals find answers in their everyday experiences.
I choose to walk in my calling. We each have a calling in our lives. My calling is to show how science can answer life’s toughest situations. Used ethically, science and technology give hope and life to humanity.
To read more of our exclusive interview with Olympia LePoint, click here.