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Dr. Reates Curry is living inspiration. The bio-medical engineer at Ford Motor Company’s Reseach and Innovation Center makes sure their cars provide the safest and most comfortable driving experience for consumers —and 17-year-old student Marianna Campbell wanted to know more about her day-to-day.

In this episode of ESSENCE’S Boss Lady Project sponsored by FORD, Dr. Curry spends the day with Campbell showing her Ford’s VIRTTEX Lab that tests cars and shares what it’s like to be a successful Black engineer. 

“I try to interact with all different people and find out what we have in common,” Dr. Curry said about being a Black woman at the automotive company. “That’s been my approach to focus on me being different… Don’t internalize it too much. Just do what you do and be confident.”

Campbell, who is interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematical) fields, took away a huge lesson about how to approach her studies. 

“She [Curry] really uses a lot of the stuff she learns in regards to physics and mathematics in her research,” Campbell said. “So it really made me look at my education like it’s not just getting a degree. I can do what I want to do, but [everything I learn] is helping.”

The day ends with an emotional conversation between the two as Dr. Curry shared why she looked forward to meeting the aspiring engineer. “I was so excited to see that there’s hope for our future,” she said. “We all need hope.”