A look behind-the-scenes of today’s hard tech leaders.


Women in Tech

SRTX is deeply committed to cleaning up unsustainable practices in the textile and fashion industries. To do that, we collaborate with industry-leading creators, engineers and technicians whose innovative thinking helps us to achieve our goals using cutting-edge technology every step of the way. That’s why we would like to shine a spotlight on extraordinary women in the tech industry. Each month, we’ll feature a new trailblazer making major strides to improve the lives of users across a variety of industries.

Meet Farah Alibay, an Aerospace Engineer from our very own hometown of Montreal, Quebec.
From growing up in the small town of Joliette, Quebec to the cutting-edge labs of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Farah Alibay's journey to becoming a systems engineer is exactly what happens when someone relentlessly pursues their dreams. Farah was deeply inspired by the starry nights and science fiction of her childhood, not to mention the pioneering women in space exploration.
Read on to discover how Farah navigated her path from studying at Cambridge to interning and ultimately securing her dream job at NASA, where she now contributes to critical missions like InSight, Perseverance, and Ingenuity. Her story illustrates how passion, combined with a commitment to continuous learning and personal growth, can lead to extraordinary achievements.
What inspired you to pursue a career in tech?

Growing up in the 90's, I grew up with science fiction movies and was fascinated by the starry nights that we gazed at during our summer camping trips. While I knew that there were people that explored space for a living, it took a while for me to allow myself to dream to one day also take my place among their ranks.

It is discovering women like Sally Ride, Mae Jemison, Kalpana Chawla and Julie Payette, all trailblazers in their own way, that gave me the courage to also dare to pursue my dreams.
Can you share a pivotal moment in your career that shaped your path in tech?
Making the choice to pursue a PhD and moving to the United States. My undergraduate and master's studies were focused in aeronautics, and when I graduated I actually had a few amazing job offers on the table. I decided to take a chance on myself, and move to Boston to pursue a PhD in aerospace engineering, which had been my dream. Going to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), while scary and definitely not an easy path, opened so many doors for me, including three internships at NASA. I also met the most incredible people there, who are still in my life today and that motivate me to continue to break down barriers in my career path.
How do you approach continuous learning and personal growth?
By dedicating time for it, whenever I can. At this point in my career, I'm continuously overbooked, which makes it hard to take the time to dedicate to my own personal growth. I try to block out an hour or two a week to take a class, read an article, get through a book chapter or two... or even just update my resume or my LinkedIn profile. While in the moment it can feel like there are more important tasks to do, in the long run it really pays off.

I'm also very lucky that my career field is one where I also continuously learn on the job - so when I face an issue that I don't know much about, I also leverage the subject matter experts around me by asking questions and trying to learn as much as I can from them.

Can you recommend a book or podcast that you believe every aspiring woman in tech should explore?
My personal goal is to lead with kindness, transparency, and empathy. This is something that I have actively been working towards in the past few years. An approachable book that has resonated with me in that quest is "Radical Candor" by Kim Scott.
How do you unwind and recharge during your
free time?
Exercising is something that is very important to me - not only does it help to relax me, but it also clears my mind and helps me get through roadblocks. I enjoy climbing and yoga on week days, and try to get outside in the mountains a couple of weekends a month. Even a walk with my dog can help cheer me up after a long day!
Are there individuals in your life who have been especially instrumental in your success?
In the summer of 2012, I was interning at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is the NASA center that focuses on the robotic exploration of our solar system.

That summer, the JPL team landed the Curiosity rover on Mars, in quite a spectacular and mind-blowing fashion. That is the moment where I decided that I too wanted to work at JPL - but it wasn't simple, a job at NASA doesn't come easy.

However, I was lucky enough to have the chance to work with an incredible internship mentor that summer - he went above and beyond to help me meet influential people in my field, to show me how to present my work, and to get my resume on the right desks. He continues to be a mentor to me to this day, and I'm so grateful for the time he has taken to open doors for me.
Do you have a professional or personal bucket list, and if so, what’s one thing you’re eager to accomplish?
I still have my childhood dream of going to space one day; I've applied to be an astronaut every time there's been a call... but no luck so far. To be honest though, exploring the solar system with the robots and spacecraft I've helped build is something I'd be happy to continue doing for the rest of my career, it's the most amazing and fulfilling "backup" job!

Stay tuned for more features of incredible women paving the way in the tech industry by following us on Instagram at @srtxlabs.

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