Dylan Baker's autism has been a challenge but never held him back from his dream
Dylan Baker is a 2016 graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, MA who grew up in Temple Landing, POAH's affordable housing complex in New Bedford, Massachusetts in the southeast part of the state.
Dylan currently works as a computer engineer at NASA in the Washington, D.C. area. Dylan’s autism has been a challenge throughout his lifetime but has never held him back from achieving this dream. After completing two summer jobs with NASA, he was offered a permanent position following college graduation. In February, Dylan received a promotion. He is pursing a master’s degree and then plans to pursue a Ph.D.
His biggest fan is his mother, Phyllis Hughes (center) who is the mother of two autistic children and an active advocate for autism awareness. “His dream was always to join NASA; growing up when he was having a hard time and he would just shut down, it was seeing videos about NASA that helped him," she said. Phyllis recalled that Dylan kept putting off submitting the original NASA application for the first job until the last day before the deadline because he wasn't confident he would qualify. But a short time later he got the word that he had been selected for the job!
Dylan has been encouraged throughout his academic and social life by the love of his mother, many teachers and professors and a supportive living environment at Temple Landing — a housing development built in 2011 to replace a run down and dangerous affordable housing complex known for its gang activity and crime. Even though he lives some 500 miles away now, Dylan “checks in” with his mom every morning to make sure she’s doing ok.
As we recognize Autism Awareness Month in April, our hats are off to Dylan!