People have asked me, “How did you get from foster child to aerospace engineer?”
Answer: I was lucky.
I went into foster care before aged 4. For most of elementary school, I lived up to the low expectations placed on me. I was disruptive, didn’t do homework, had abysmal attendance and would do anything for a laugh. Then several things happened to change my life:
- I had to be hospitalized for severe asthma and pneumonia.
- I had a vision screening and discovered I needed glasses.
- A teacher gave me an IQ test and told me I was smart.
My life began to change.
Getting my asthma in check meant I stopped missing school. Glasses revealed a world that had always been been blurry. A piece of paper with a high score proved that I was capable of learning as much, if not more than my peers. I was no longer a trouble-making foster child, but a glasses-wearing asthmatic with a high IQ. I still lived in a not-so-great foster home. Still didn’t have anyone to help me with homework. But my teachers began to expect more. So, I began to expect more.
I recently listened to a TED Talk by Rita Pierson, an educator who has since passed away. She said, “Learning sometimes occurs because someone insists that you recognize the excellence in yourself.”
I believe that.
I write books for kids who haven’t yet recognized the excellence in themselves.
Caroline Noonan is a Young Adult Fiction author represented by Marie Lamba of Jennifer De Chiara Literary. She spent much of her career as a satellite engineer for NASA, specializing in the field of Astrodynamics. She later became a writer and editor for the space industry. Her debut YA novel Till Someday is a riveting contemporary about a girl eager to turn 18 and finally take charge of her life beyond foster care, but life keeps getting in her way. Caroline writes with authority — she grew up in foster homes from the ages of 4-18.
Caroline Noonan lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.