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Seeing Is Believing: GE Aerospace Engineer and Spin Day Ambassador Vanessa Moo Young Is All About Representing

March 27, 2024 | by Dianna Delling

“You could be a rocket scientist!” 

Mrs. Pearce, the chemistry teacher at Immaculate Conception High School in Kingston, Jamaica, was impressed by Vanessa Moo Young’s academic performance. But she had no way of knowing her compliment would be taken literally. 

“I remember thinking, What’s a rocket scientist?” says Moo Young, who went home and looked it up online. “I had an interest in space, and my dad is an electrical engineer. But I didn’t know you could be a space engineer — it turns out there’s a profession for that!”

Today, just over a decade later, Moo Young is living the dream Mrs. Pearce accidentally embedded in her mind. As an aerospace engineer at the GE Aerospace site in West Chester, Ohio, she’s the high-pressure compressor (HPC) durability leader for what’s soon to be the largest, most powerful commercial aircraft engine in the skies: the GE9X high-bypass turbofan jet engine. While guiding mechanical design efforts for engine durability and validation, Moo Young is helping to ready the history-making engine for entry into service in May 2025, when it will power the Boeing 777X. 

Moo Young with a GE90 engine
Moo Young with a GE90 engine. Images courtesy of Vanessa Moo Young


She’s also taking part in another historic first. On April 2, she’ll be in New York with her GE Aerospace colleague Liam Richards to witness the ringing of the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange as GE Chairman and CEO and GE Aerospace CEO Larry Culp announces the establishment of GE Vernova and GE Aerospace as separate independent companies. Moo Young and Richards will share their “Launch Day” experiences via a takeover of the GE Aerospace Instagram channel.  

“I’m so excited to be a part of it,” she says. “I follow GE Aerospace on all the social media platforms, and I’m passionate about our engines. It’s an incredible opportunity, not just to represent GE Aerospace, but to represent women in engineering.” 

Moo Young at the New York Stock Exchange.
Moo Young (left) and Kassy Hart of GE Vernova at the New York Stock Exchange.

She knows firsthand that young women can reach for the stars only if they know what’s up there waiting for them. Growing up in Jamaica, her birthplace, Moo Young and other outstanding STEM students were generally encouraged to become doctors. She went along with that idea until realizing she was bored with biology class. The teacher’s offhand remark came at just the right time, and it changed the course of her life.

Moo Young left Jamaica for Chicago after high school to attend the Illinois Institute of Technology, where she studied aerospace engineering. There, she got her first glimpse of snow and her first chance to learn about the mechanics of jet engines. “There weren’t many women in the aerospace engineering program at the time,” she notes. “The percentages in the industry are going up, but we can still use more.”

Moo Young with other participants at a hands-on engine class for International Women's Day.
Moo Young with other participants at a hands-on engine class for International Women's Day.


After graduating in 2016, she took a job in Nashville, where she designed electric products for the power management industry. The position allowed her to advance her mechanical engineering skills, but it also helped solidify her interest in aerospace. “I knew even then that I someday wanted to work for GE Aviation, as it was called at the time,” she says.

Since arriving at GE Aerospace in September 2021, Moo Young has been working on some of the most innovative projects in the industry. She started out designing fuel systems for the Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines (RISE) program, which is developing technologies that aims to reduce engine fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by more than 20% compared with engines currently on the market. At the time, RISE had just been announced by CFM International, a 50-50 joint company between GE Aerospace and Safran Aircraft Engines. 

“There were a lot of positives about working on an advanced program, on an engine that’s going to take over in the next ten years or so,” she says. But since joining the GE9X engine program this past January, she’s also appreciated the opportunity to work on an engine that’s much further along in the design process. “I can actually see the hardware!” she says.

Moo Young volunteering at a Girl Scouts event.
Moo Young volunteering at a Girl Scouts event.


Moo Young has found a supportive network of women engineers at GE Aerospace, from those on her team to others she’s met through employee resource groups, such as the Women’s Network and Women in Tech. “The groups help connect you with women you wouldn’t necessarily see or interact with every day but who’ve had years of experience at GE,” she says. 

She also takes every opportunity to volunteer at GE-sponsored “Girls in STEM” events that encourage young women to consider careers in engineering. “There are so many girls in the next generation that are incredibly smart, and we can show them that with a STEM background and skill set, there is a vast range of career opportunities available to them,” she says. “I wish I’d had more of that growing up. As they say, you have to be able to see it, to be it.” 

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GE Aerospace is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, as well as integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft.