Christine Bland is a contract engineer led Lockheed Martin’s team in developing the electronic hardware on NASA’s Orion spacecraft, as well as working on Juno and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. In early November of 2014, she was named the 2014 LGBT Engineer of the Year by the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) for her hard work and good role model as a transgender woman.
Besides leading the development of electronic hardware for NASA, she has also worked on as Lockheed’s deep space exploration groups such as Stardust, Spitzer Infrared Space Scope, Genesis Odyssey Orbiter, and GRAIL.
Graduating from the University of Colorado in Denver in 1986, Bland had originally entered the STEM fields before she transitioned. She waited to transition at work until she was a senior engineer and well known in the industry. Lockheed had a brief meeting about her transition.
“It was a very big deal,” she said, “And everyone has been very, very accepting and positive from day one…. And I’ve gained a lot from my journey… It’s made me a better person.”
Currently, Bland is an LGBT leader at Lockheed Martin, works as a mental and STEM education advocate, and founded the Lockheed Martin Transgender Council to assist with legal and insurance issues and to provide support to other transgender employees. She is also the first aerospace and defense company to recruit candidates at a transgender career fairs.
Throughout her transition, she’s maintained a good relationship with her two adult children and speaks at seminars all across the country.
“You can be your true, authentic self and go after the things you want to do. Just be honest with yourself and everyone else, and let other people worry about their issues.”
-Staff: Max 219
About LGBTQ+ of FIRST
LGBTQ+ of FIRST is an organization dedicated to raising awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ+ participants in FIRST Robotics. LGBTQ+ of FIRST was started to spread visibility of the LGBTQ+ community within FIRST and help teams become safe spaces for their members.