What do you wish you'd known then that you know now? That variety is good, and that it's important to sample many different disciplines before deciding on a career path. It's vital to be flexible and explore new options.
What do you do in your job? I work with scientists and educators to develop content for print and web products. After content is nailed down I design a layout and create graphics for the format needed - e.g., a brochure, Web page, or an explanatory graphic to accompany a press release about Hubble discoveries.
If you weren't in your current position, what would you be? Most likely a children's book illustrator. I may turn my hand to travel and food writing one day.
What do you like about your job? I like working at the Space Telescope Science Institute. As an image processor for the telescope, my work is very presentation-oriented. I have worked on nearly 300 images over the past decade. The images I create are rewriting astronomy picture book and textbooks. My main project, Hubble Heritage, helps bring scientific images to people around the world.
What do you wish you’d known then? I was one of the only women in my field of study in college. Many times I had to prove or justify myself to others, including changing majors to study astronomy. Today, I am a big proponent of encouraging young girls to become interested in science and having our field retain them as young astronomers.
What do you do in your job? I construct prototype models designed by NASA engineers. The models are built to scale and give a better understanding of what the actual spacecraft will look like. I have received crude sketches on napkins, so I must try and extract ideas out of the engineers' heads to get exactly what they want. Other times, I get full-scale dimensional drawings. I have worked on every project that Goddard Space Flight Center has constructed over 29 years and have met hundreds of people; some are like walking computers - full of information.
What school subjects do you use at work? Math, English, Shop, and Science.
What obstacles did you face growing up and how did you overcome them? I was born with sickle cell disease and couldn't do the things other kids did. My parents never tried to discourage me from trying things, so even though I often got sick from doing strenuous activities, my body became somewhat stronger and more developed than other kids with the same disease.
What do you wish you'd known then that you know now about high school? My senior year I got very lazy and playful and for the first time I was no longer on the HonorRoll. I believe now that the 12th grade is the most critical for maintaining grades.
What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them? My biggest obstacle was the money (I am still paying student loans!). I wish I had known about a book that lists all available scholarships and how to get them. There would have been less stress if I hadn't had to worry about my finances every semester.
What do you do in your job? I work a lot at my computer, designing, programming, and putting information and pictures on the Web sites for which I am responsible.
What do you do in your free time? I, and several others, work on a race car for a friend. As part of his pit crew, we go to the track when he races and fix anything that needs to be fixed. I also like to read and grow orchids.