After earning top marks in her college entrance examination, Wang Hongyue could have chosen any major she wanted.
Her parents and teachers urged her to opt for "safe" subjects, like computer science and law. But Wang wanted to work where few Chinese women had gone before - the space industry.
Inspired by the words of Yuan Jiajun, chief commander of the Shenzhou spacecraft, she chose to follow the program of aircraft design and engineering at Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Wang had heard Yuan say on TV: "Every day our work sets my heart racing with excitement." The passion in his voice intrigued her.
Wang soon converted her initial feelings of excitement into outstanding achievement.
Over the next three years, the now 22-year-old senior student consistently ranked first in her class and won countless scholarships. She was also awarded the title "Star of Astronautics".
Yet there were times when she considered throwing in the towel and giving up on her "adventure".
"(Rocket science) is a tough subject for girls," she said.
Her dedication and commitment could now lead Wang to a job at the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, which makes rocket propulsion systems, after graduation.
Whatever the future holds, Wang feels she belongs to China's fledgling space program.
"Watching the Chang'e launch, I felt I was part of it. Many of the staff working on the probe are from our university. It seemed like a big family," she said.
"They are my future."