My school does not have an aerospace engineering program, should I study chemical engineering instead?

I am currently a Freshman at Ole Miss and have recently become very interested in the field of aerospace after hearing a speaker from NASA at a convention over spring break. I would like to pursue a career in engineering to do so because of my love for math and the upcoming possibilities with the trip to Mars. Unfortunately our school doesn't offer an aerospace program or degree, so I was wondering what the best route to go would be maybe chemical engineering, transferring schools, etc.? Also, I would love to shadow to see the lives of female engineers in this field before I choose this path. In my area, there are not a lot of opportunities available for me so I was wondering if you could help me find a way. Like you, I plan to have a family and would be very important to me so it is nice to see you can do both!! Sorry for all the questions, and thank you so much.
posted by Abbey, University of Mississippi on May 14, 2016

Answer by Elizabeth Keller Bierman

HI Abby,

Thanks for the question.  Congrats on deciding on a career in engineering!  I hope you enjoy it...for me college was very hard but worth it in the end.  In terms of going into a career at NASA, my advice would be mechanical, electrical or chemical.  I don't think you need to have an aerospace engineering degree to work there.  The core engineering disciplines are just as valuable.  So if you like Ole Miss...stay there.  No need to transfer unless you want to.  My second piece of advice is to get internships.  Easier said than done, and most places don't start engineering internships until after your second year but this will be the best exposure to the field.  And remember that there are lots of suppliers into NASA that will be able to show you the ins and outs to the industry.  

Take care,
Elizabeth