Texas high school junior Perla Bautista has her gaze set on the stars, and NASA has their sights set on her. She was chosen for a coveted spot at NASA’s High School Aerospace Scholars (HAS) program. Only a handful of Texas students are chosen each year.

Perla has dreams of being a jet pilot, engineer and rocket builder, but she wasn’t always interested in these fields. She changed her mind when she realized that she could help people through science.

As a HAS scholar, Perla will learn about space exploration, Earth science, technology and aeronautics, as well as chat with NASA engineers and scientists.

She hopes to be invited to a six-day residential summer experience at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where she’ll work with NASA experts on designing a mission to Mars.

Because the sciences are male dominated fields, “I knew it would be hard to get in,” Perla said. “But I was excited to learn that I had been accepted.”

Congratulations Perla, maybe we’ll see you orbiting space in the near future!