The U.S. Treasury has always been a place where people could find something green, but this time the term is not referring to money. The U.S. Treasury building has obtained a green environmental designation, probably the oldest federal building to earn one. It has reduced its operating costs by $3.5 million annually as a result.

If the Treasury, built first in 1836, can go green and utilize smarter systems management, then most of the rest of government should be relatively easy, according to experts in the field. All it takes is a little ingenuity, a great deal of effort and a desire. And a presidential executive order helps too. Keep reading →

We know things will be different in 2013. Already, we know tight budgets will be further tightened, and those of us providing services and solutions to the federal government will need to be more focused on the value we can deliver and problems we can solve to help our customers move forward in the new landscape.

Since we know changes are coming, now is a great time to assess your organization’s public relations and marketing strategies for the New Year, to make sure you’re answering your customers’ questions and concerns. And you want higher visibility and awareness, to ensure they can find you when they need you in 2013. Keep reading →

I grew up in a conservative Midwestern home that valued hard work and diligence. I was extremely lucky to have the influence of three strong women in my life – my mother, my grandmother and my great aunt. They raised me to truly believe I could do anything – whether it was sports, algebra or even being one of the few women, at the time, to enroll and graduate from engineering school. For them gender was never a consideration. You were simply supposed to work hard to achieve your goal.

In my home, there was never a question of whether I would go to college, but rather what would I study and where. Our family placed a very high value on education and the opportunities it enabled. Going to school was my ‘job’ and I was expected to do well at it.
Because I was good at math and the sciences, I was encouraged to try medicine or engineering. But I loved science fiction, and it was the idea of designing spacecraft for long-duration exploration that intrigued me. I set my sight on the “Mecca” of human spaceflight: NASA.

I had no idea attending Purdue University in Indiana, with its longtime history with NASA and Johnson Space Center, positioned me well. Purdue was prime recruiting territory for fledgling aerospace engineers. But to me, Purdue was just two hours from home and the state school for engineers – kids who wanted to be doctors went to Indiana University.

I took my job as a co-operative education student at Johnson Space Center not knowing much about the day-to-day work of an engineer. My education began immediately. Immersed with a group of “old” Apollo engineers, their experience and my youthful exuberance made for interesting, energetic and always educational interactions. They fueled my self-confidence and taught me the ropes of decision making when lives, and professional reputations, are at stake.
I used these skills to support all the human spaceflight programs, including the space shuttle orbiter, the International Space Station, the X-38 vehicle and now the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Program.

I joined NASA in the shadow of the 1985 space shuttle Challenger tragedy. I saw firsthand the dedication people felt to resolve what went wrong that day and to make sure it never happened again. From that point forward, the passion for what NASA strives to achieve_engineering excellence and integrity _ became the touchstone for everything I have done. I know these life lessons aren’t unique to NASA. But the ability to take these values, add a focus on teamwork and persistence, and you can see why NASA truly excels and continues to draw some of the best and brightest young people into the adventure of human spaceflight.

I relived those hard lessons in 2003 when space shuttle Columbia experienced a thermo structural failure during re-entry. This time it was even more personal to me. I had spent 15 years working on the space shuttle, and I was now in a position to provide leadership. Everything my Apollo colleagues had taught me, everything I had learned through diverse co-op tours, everything I had learned in graduate school came into play. It was as if I’d spent 15 years gathering the skills needed to contribute to the Columbia accident investigation. It shows you never know how your life experiences will work together to enable your opportunities in the future.

After the Columbia accident, I took a hiatus to have my daughter. She is now 8, and I confess that I still have difficulty striking a balance between work and home. It’s a constant struggle, but totally worth it. I wouldn’t want to have had to choose between my family and my career. I’ve been at NASA for 25 years. My career is a big part of my life…an important part of who I am.

When I returned to NASA, I joined the NASA Engineering and Center and then took my current job as Orion chief engineer. As chief engineer, I am amazed every day at the depth of technical talent in this agency and the contractor family. I’m also amazed at how much these folks need and value leadership. Leaders that can communicate, advocate and make clear decisions are worth their weight in gold. I find now I spend most of my career trying to learn to be a better leader – we have all kinds of folks who are there to provide the best technical options – so my job is to knock down barriers, help them prioritize, allow them to move forward. That’s a totally different skill, but equally important to our success as an agency and a nation.

A new report by the Partnership for Public Service said the federal government must move faster to embrace social media because it’s “not just a passing trend” but an important mechanism for advancing government effectiveness.

The report, to be officially released Wednesday, found pockets of excellence in agencies using social media and digital applications, but concluded that “use of digital platforms is by no means standard across government.” Keep reading →

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. Keep reading →

It was only a matter of time before social media’s impact in the marketplace would begin to alter the way executives go about their business in the workplace.

A new study commissioned by LinkedIn however, puts that evolution in some fresh perspective, with a look at how social media platforms are playing an increasing role in how information technology decision makers are making IT decisions. Keep reading →

Contrary to the predictions of many security experts, who argue that cloud exploits, mobile device attacks and all-out cyber war will be among the most likely data breach threats governments and enterprises will face in 2013, researchers for the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) have reached a far different conclusion.

The most likely threats in 2013 will involve authentication attacks and failures, continued espionage and “hacktivism” attacks, Web application exploits and social engineering. Keep reading →

I grew up in a large family, the middle child of seven children. My parents and grandparents were never remiss in reminding me of the importance of trusting God in all areas of my life and the significance of the opportunity to learn from every individual I would encounter. When I look back on my life, I consider my greatest accomplishment as completing my Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering after losing my mother to breast cancer during my freshman year of college. My mother was my cheerleader in life, the person who had the greatest influence on me. So the hardest thing for me was having the courage to continue with a dream that was born out of her hopes and vision for me.

As a young girl growing up in Houston, my parents exposed me to many different things. I loved the arts, and at a very early age I had a tremendous appreciation for theater, dance, and music. My love for reading and writing poetry and short stories stirred the creative side of my brain. There was a balance as well. I was very focused on academics and always wanted to be the perfect straight-A student. Early in life my parents taught me to study hard, make good grades, and always do my best. I was probably my worst critic when it came to my schoolwork because for me, failure was not an option! Keep reading →

A new technology with potential government applications could make computer mice and touch interfaces obsolete with the wave of a finger. Consisting of a small motion-sensing unit and software, the Leap Motion controller allows users to manipulate graphic images and other data with hand motions.

The Leap controller is the size of a smart phone and sits in front of a computer monitor where it detects hand or stylus motions in an eight cubic foot space in front of the monitor and converts them into motion in the form of manipulated graphics, game control data, robot control or many other types of interface manipulation. Keep reading →

The Centers for Disease Control has spearheaded a program available to other agencies that automatically updates website content, making it easier and more cost-effective to keep information current.

The content syndication tool eliminates the cumbersome and time-consuming practice of emailing updates and changing website content manually. Keep reading →

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