Bilal's Open Road
Senior Research Scientist
NASA Glen Research Center
We have to fail in order to succeed, and that's difficult because young people have fear of failure. The fact of the matter is I actually get paid to learn, and the only way to learn is to fail.
- From Paterson, New Jersey, a town with one of the highest crime rates in America.
- Mom told him to master two things: "kissing butt and kicking butt."
- Was considered a "bad kid" in school; teachers saw potential in him but he goofed off.
- One of his teachers saw that he was good at music; taught him math to make him better at music.
- Told him "the more math you know, the more money you'll make; math will be your profession, music will be your hobby."
- Applied for an internship at NASA, got it, and it all fell into place.
- After he graduated college, he didn't feel like he was done learning, so he kept going; has six degrees.
- Has his "dream job" developing biofuels; combines his hobby (working with saltwater fishtanks) and his degrees in mathematics.