Alumni Audrey Gaither shoots for the moon with SpaceX and Tesla

Alexa Erickson

Redwood alum and valedictorian of the class of 2017, Audrey Gaither, has been taking the technology world by storm for the past three years. After graduating from Redwood, she is continuing her education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she is studying mechanical engineering. In recent months, she has been involved in working with engineers at SpaceX and Tesla. Gaither has always taken an interest in this specific area of science and as she expands her horizons, she feels she has found her place.

“I had no idea what I wanted to do. I took Honors Bio-Med my junior year of high school, and I found it really interesting. I thought it might be something I wanted to explore,” Gaither said. 

In her first year at MIT, she joined clubs that opened her eyes to the world of mechanical engineering and declared her major soon after.

“I knew I wanted to work in tech this summer, so I sent out maybe fifty to a hundred resumes to any company I could think of. Just by luck, my mom happened to know someone that worked in the Tesla office in San Rafael and they were able to give me an internship,” Gaither said. 

Tesla and SpaceX have become a united entity. She has been working directly with the engineers in SpaceX that are specializing in rocket building. 

In such a booming and competitive industry, the stakes are high and require an expert level of skill and willingness to work hard.

“I think the most stressful part of my experience was adjusting to the environment, but I feel that it is the same whenever someone enters a new industry or place. [It] can be challenging, but my peers and coworkers made the adjustment very easy,” Gaither said.

Gaither put in countless hours of work with her team on their various projects. Despite her work not technically being a “full time job,” the amount of time and work that goes into each day is a lot for the team.

“I have had the best experience working with my team of engineers. The time put into the job is definitely strenuous, but definitely was made easier by having such a supportive and welcoming team,” Gaither said.

Audrey’s younger sibling, Stanley Gaither, believes that his sister has inspired him to work hard in whatever field he decides to enter and pursue. 

“Audrey just knows what she wants and it’s really admirable and I hope that one day I can do the same,” Gaither said.

Teri Gaither, Audrey’s mother, shared a similar sentiment as she witnessed the hard work of her daughter.

“I have always been one to want my kids to do what they feel is the best decision for them. I have never pushed her to work as hard as she does, but she is absolutely incredible and I couldn’t be prouder of the work she is doing,” Gaither said.

With exposure into the real world of technology, Audrey plans on pursuing a career in engineering. 

“If there is any advice I could give to someone who is wanting to work in tech or in a certain field, definitely put yourself out there and experiment until you find something you love and stick with it,” Gaither said.