As a senior in high school, I took a physics class. I loved the challenge of figuring things out, and I loved how math could be used to predict where a ball would land as it rolled off of a table. My teacher was amazing and helped keep my interest by making the subject so fascinating. But, I also loved playing the piano and was considering becoming a concert pianist. After much soul searching, I decided to have piano as my creative outlet and pursue physics for my career. I definitely made the right choice! I went to college and majored in physics. I then went on to get my Master’s degree in Physics and Ph.D in Electrical Engineering. Today, I work as an engineer at NASA Glenn Research Center in the Space Flight Systems Directorate, where I am a project manager for Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP). I love working at NASA.
In the 21 years I have been with NASA, I not only fulfilled that ambition but also contributed significantly to the future of aeronautics and space exploration. I also believe I helped inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists. The whole environment at NASA has pushed me toward my goals. Everyone is so intellectual, innovative, and helpful. There are so many opportunities, and people I work with every day inspire me and push me to try new things and ideas.
I have done everything from working in a lab to managing large flight projects. At one point in my career, I was the engineer that flight tested newly developed sensors on NASA aircraft. That was a lot of fun, and I have to admit, coming to work in a flight suit was pretty cool.
In 2001, I moved into project management and started working with NASA’s Space Exploration Program. To this end, I worked on vehicle health management, propulsion, the Ares I-X flight test, the Integrated Vehicle Ground Vibration Test, and my current position as the Solar Electric Propulsion project manager at NASA Glenn. It’s a privilege to be part of such a diverse workforce integrating complex components for a flight or ground test.
I really want to be part of the next generation of technology we develop for space exploration. I have never ceased to be thoroughly excited about what I do in my job. Along the way, I have learned from NASA’s earlier generation, the Apollo engineers, technicians, and astronauts. They’re very inspiring as they were pioneers, and we have all benefited from their experience.