10 Years After Completing CNM's Aviation Maintenance Technology Program, This Grad Still Loves What She Does
Lexy Snell (right) in the Virgin Galactic Flight hangar. Photo Courtesy of Virgin Galactic

10 Years After Completing CNM's Aviation Maintenance Technology Program, This Grad Still Loves What She Does

Lexy Snell took a chance studying aviation maintenance at CNM back in 2012. Now, she’s an Assistant Crew Chief for Virgin Galactic, a major spaceflight company.
August 02, 2023

Lexy Snell was working at a coffee shop after finishing her Fine Arts degree at CNM, but still wasn’t sure what to do next. Luckily, one of her coworkers mentioned CNM’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program, and the rest fell into place. 

“My coworker went with me to check out the Advanced Technology Center where the classes are held, and I immediately felt like it was what I was meant to do,” Lexy says.

Even though Lexy didn’t have a technical background when she enrolled, she quickly found her footing. She credits much of her success to her instructors, who were not only her teachers, but also her biggest supporters. 

“My instructors were truly incredible,” she says. “They gave me and my classmates so many opportunities and were always encouraging us. It was an experience that can’t be matched.”

It was also her instructors who encouraged Lexy to apply for the 12-week Virgin Galactic Internship program

“I applied, and to my surprise I was chosen,” she says. “I left for California right after I graduated and have been with Virgin Galactic ever since. I never would have come as far as I have if it weren’t for my instructors who pushed me to put myself out there.”

After her internship, Lexy went on to become Virgin Galactic's first woman spacewrench, or person who makes sure a spaceship is safe to fly, and worked her way up to her current position of Assistant Crew Chief. 

This isn’t Lexy's only first, however. Most recently, she worked on Virgin Galactic's Unity 22 Flight, which was the first suborbital spaceflight to have more than one passenger on board besides the pilots. 

As Lexy reflects on the last ten years, she couldn’t be more grateful for where she is now, and plans to keep dreaming big. She also wants to urge others that it’s never too late to try something new.

“I graduated from the aviation mechanics program right before I turned 30,” she says. “When I applied to the program, I jumped into something that was way outside of the box for me, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made. In the end, it doesn’t matter how old you are or where you come from, just give something a shot and see where it takes you. You could end up traveling the world or even to space!”