BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — Warrant Officer Tatiana Julien is the first Black female pilot in the Louisiana Army National Guard.

“It definitely still feels surreal to me because it happened in 2021,” said Julien. “2021 and we are still talking about a first in aviation.”

When she’s not training to save the world, she’s inspiring the next generation to shoot for the stars. On Friday she spoke to the students at Broadmoor High School to inspire them to follow their dreams.

“I really feel like I have a responsibility to introduce and expose other people that look like myself to aviation because I never got that exposure,” Julien explained.

Part of Julien’s inspiration stemmed from when she and her family were saved during Hurricane Katrina.

“I was rescued in 2005 with my family on a helicopter,” Julien recalled. “I remember that moment vividly, when I got on that helicopter I was happy because it got me away from all of what was going on down there.”

Her experience gives her a personal understanding and it drives her to give back.

“I definitely, definitely know how serious it is to be stuck somewhere and waiting for someone to come get you,” said Julien. “When the time comes I absolutely, I definitely will be ready.”

Julien said knowing she would make history, pushed her to follow her dreams.

“It did motivate me a little bit during flight school when things got tough because, trust me, they get tough,” Julien said.

And she wants others to follow in her footsteps.

“The percentage is small, Black women or women, smaller, and Black women even smaller, so I think it’s because they just don’t have that exposure and that’s what I wanted to give them today,” Julien said. “I want you to know that, yes, we do fly helicopters, we fly airplanes.”